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VERY limited ankle mobility


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Hello,

I have the Stretching & Flexibility book, and have just yesterday begun the ST Starter Course. Years ago, I ran and also regularly practiced yoga, but it fell by the wayside and now I'm a bit overweight and very inflexible. I'm finding I face a big issue with the inflexibility of my ankles - I cannot bend my feet back at all. I can point my toes all day long - that doesn't even feel like a stretch - but I cannot flex my foot the other direction. This gets in the way of many exercise movements, and now I see that it prevents me from getting into many of the stretching forms too. Where would you suggest I start to begin correcting this? I found this video mentioned in another post, Foot Awakening Sequence | Over-pronation ("flat" feet), bunions, high arches, foot/ankle mobility - YouTube, but that position about 10 minutes in? I can't get my knee within 6 inches of the floor when I'm on my toes like that. Even the first stretch in the Daily 5 is unattainable because I am literally on the tips of my toes with my toenails pushing into the floor. I know I didn't this way overnight, and I'm willing to put in the work, I'm just not sure where/how to begin if my feet aren't allowing me to practice basic stretches. Thank you for any input!

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@JenniferW is talking about this foot position (bottom image):

WRT this position, put the knee of that foot on two Yoga blocks, or whatever height you need in order to be able to rest there, then apply your upper body's weight to the heel, gently, as I am showing. Once you have been able to relax there for a while, add a contraction (press the toes into the floor for a few seconds) then let the toes/feet relax a bit more. And I can tell you that most people can't get into the position I am showing here the first time they try it.

WRT to really tight ankles, the easiest way to stretch them is to go outside, and find a kerb (curb) next to a pole of some kind: hold the pole, put the ball of one foot on the edge of the kerb, and hang your heel down (the other leg can go behind to add weight to the exercise). The contraction, once you can support your whole weight on the one leg, is to press the ball of that foot down gently onto the edge, and after, let the tummy relax completely, and let your weight lengthen the muscles. Go gently the first time!

Then, after a month or two, if the ankles are still resistant, pull out the SledgeHammer approach:

 

Screen Shot 2021-11-28 at 07.09.42.jpg

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The stretch I am suggesting, using a kerb/curb, can be found here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XfAJa0yNliM

The form of the stretch is shown at about 2:33 or thereabouts. This particular exercise is both strengthening and stretching (and realigning), but all you need to do is concentrate on the stretching part. 

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