Back pain is one of the most common chronic conditions that Canadians experience. According to recent statistics, four out of five adults in the country have or will experience back pain at some point in their lives.

Experienced equally by both men and women, most people who suffer from back pain attribute it to the way they sleep or the way they sit and stand. What they don’t know is that their ankles could also be the reason behind the pain.

Limited Ankle Dorsiflexion or Tight Ankles

A key component of our musculoskeletal structure, the soleus muscle stretches from the calf to the ankles. Often overlooked, these muscles are vital in lending flexibility and stability to the ankles and knees.

The soleus muscle is connected to the Achilles tendon. When we move our feet, the muscle gives our toes the ability to push off the ground. It also contracts and relaxes the arches in the feet, allowing them to absorb the weight of the body while walking, running, or dancing.

Over time, too much pressure or force can lead to damaged tissues, affecting the functioning of the soleus muscles and causing tight ankles.

Consequential Effects of Tight Ankles

Limited movement and flexibility in the ankles are often the root cause of foot, hip, knee, and back pain. Tight ankles often cause issues with gait, such as overpronation, over supination, and fallen arches. This results in subtle changes to the way we walk, which can throw the whole body off balance.

This small shift in the gait triggers other parts of the body to overcorrect. Over time, this can alter the curvature of the spine and the formation of the calf muscles, changing the entire musculoskeletal structure of the body. As a consequence, the person starts suffering from chronic back and knee pain.

Identifying Tight Ankles

You can find out whether your back pain is being caused by tight ankles by looking out for the following signs:

  • The inability to bend the knees further than your toes. You can see if you are able to by doing some lunges and trying to bend your knees until your ankles bend with it.
  • Knock knees. If your knees tend to bend inwards when you squat it might be compensating for the loss of motion in your ankles.
  • Inability to squat. Tight ankles can cause the hamstring to stiffen making it impossible to do a full squat.

Contact Our Sports Medicine Specialists in The Greater Toronto Area!

Sports & Exercise Medicine Institute offers the expert services of experienced physiotherapists and sports injury specialists in the Greater Toronto Area.

The leading sports medicine and physiotherapy clinic provides modern non-surgical treatment options and expert diagnoses for musculoskeletal conditions such as tight ankles and other sports-related injuries.

We also offer additional services including physiotherapy, custom knee braces, foot pain podiatry, shockwave therapy, massage therapy, and neck and shoulder pain treatments.

Contact us now to schedule an appointment!