Balanced Body Soft Tissue & Spine | Ankeny, Iowa Chiropractor Balanced Body Soft Tissue & Spine | Ankeny, Iowa Chiropractor

At Home Assessments: The Ankle

Do you have ankle problems while walking, running, squatting, jumping or doing other activities? Are you tired of seemingly endless stretching or foam rolling with little to no success? Here’s why — to have a healthy ankle, one movement needs to be full and pain-free. While most providers or massage therapists just focus on the calf muscle, experts understand that less obvious muscles and ligaments are actually responsible for blocking this very important motion.

Now let’s get to testing one of the most significant ranges for your lower half: dorsiflexion.

The Assessment

Ankle Dorsiflexion

  1. Stand close to a wall, placing one foot a few inches away from the wall and one foot behind you in a staggered stance about shoulder width apart. Put your hands on the wall for support and adjust to get in a comfortable position keeping weight on both feet.
  2. Bend the front knee and lean weight forward until the knee touches the wall.
  3. Any assessment that fails to meet normal range of motion increases your chance of injury this season. The most common reason these tests are restricted is adhesion. In order to fix adhesion, manual therapy is necessary.
  4. Continue to move back away from the wall until the knee can no longer touch without the heel coming off the ground.
  5. Slide forward slightly until the knee is just touching the wall and the heel is on the ground, this is your maximum range.
  6. Grab your ruler and measure the distance from wall to toes with it. Normal range of motion for this test is six inches pain free and with ease.

If you’re able to pass with ease and still find yourself with ankle pain, check out our previous assessments for low back pain, hip range of motion or healthy knee mobility as your problem may be lying somewhere else.

If you’re part of the other 95%, here’s why: adhesion. The ankles do a lot of work — think about all the motions they have to be able to perform — from simply walking up the stairs or on even ground to burpees at the gym. And let’s not forget the amount of repetitions it takes to hit your 10,000 daily steps goal. The high stress load can create injuries or tears in the ligaments and muscles around your ankle joint. When these structures get stretched too far or loaded too much this creates sprains (ligaments) and strains (muscles) and your body repairs the injury by laying down scar tissue, or adhesion. With the adhesion present, the structure is “fixed” but weakened by the adhesion. The weakened structure can lead to more pain or worse problems down the road. On the other hand, overusing these muscles (like training for Dam 2 Dam) leads to less oxygen distribution in these muscles that don’t get a break and adhesion can settle in the same.

If you don’t have full range of motion in dorsiflexion, you will likely suffer from conditions such as ‘plantar fasciitis’, achilles tendinitis (likely tendinosis by the time you get to my office), recurrent ankle sprains or calf strains and/or cramping. Without proper treatment by a soft tissue expert trained in Integrative Diagnosis™, injuries to the foot and ankle can leave you with a lifetime of pain and recurring injuries. Any assessment that fails to meet the normal range of motion increases your chance of injury in the future and permanent joint damage.


If you been struggling with ankle pain and are sick of endless stretches or physical therapy please call our office at (515) 963-1641 for a complete and accurate diagnosis. Integrative Diagnosis™ is the most advanced diagnosis and treatment system for solving musculoskeletal problems.  Dr. Hommer at Balanced Body Soft Tissue & Spine is the only certified Integrative Diagnosis™ provider in central Iowa for treating chronic muscle, nerve, and joint problems.