Easy Knee to Wall Test to Check Ankle and Calf Flexibility
Do you play sports? Do you run or swim?
If you do any form of exercise, whether it’s demanding or not, you’re probably aware that your ankles and calves are responsible for a lot of physical movement and mobility.
Therefore, flexibility is important.
Sports that incorporate running, for example, calf muscles end up bearing almost eight times your body’s weight, every step you take.
Calf muscle flexibility plays a direct role in ankle flexibility.
Let’s take a deeper look and discuss an easy test that you can perform, at home, to test your ankle and calf muscle flexibility.
Why Does Calf & Ankle Flexibility Matter?
Calf flexibility plays a direct role in a measure of ankle flexibility known as ankle dorsiflexion.
Ankle dorsiflexion is the medical term for bringing your toes up closer towards you. This is shown in the photo below. This range of dorsiflexion may vary depending on whether your knee is straight or bent. For the purposes of this blog, we’re looking at the range with the knee bent.
When a calf muscle isn’t flexible, a few things happen.
First, it will restrict the range of ankle dorsiflexion available.
If this happens, your body will try and find new ways to complete the movement without the required dorsiflexion. This could lead to injuries, pain, and unintended tightness.
People who play sports or partake in physical activities that utilize running excessively MUST measure their ankle dorsiflexion.
How can you easily do such a thing?
It’s called a knee-to-wall test.
How to Perform the Test
- Find a wall and stand facing it
- Place the toes of your right leg against the wall, and take half a step back with your left leg
- Push your knee forwards to touch the wall, checking you’re keeping your hips facing forwards
- If you’re able to do this easily, move your foot away from the wall 1-2cm and repeat trying to touch the knee to the wall
- Repeat until you’re unable to touch the wall with your knee
- Record the maximum distance you’re able to achieve
- Repeat with the other leg
Less than 5cm – poor ankle mobility
Up to 10cm – acceptable ankle mobility
More than 10cm – good ankle mobility
Make sure that while you’re measuring, you keep your back and torso straight, your pelvis in place, and your heel on the ground.
Not doing any of these things may result in an inaccurate measurement.
What to Do If the Results Aren’t Ideal
Did you get a score below 5cm? Or, did you find a difference between your right and left ankle?
If so, it’s important to strengthen your calf muscles.
Doing things like calf raises on a step and box jumps are great ways to increase the strength and flexibility of your calf muscles. Foam rolling your calf muscles can also help improve flexibility.
Re-test yourself after a few weeks of working on improving flexibility. Hopefully, you’ll see some improvement!
If you’re having any aches and pains in your lower legs and feel calf and ankle flexibility are an issue, then contact us for an appointment to get an individual treatment plan.