A few weeks ago we covered the importance of the Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA) - a tool useful to determine how your body is moving, and whether or not it's moving correctly. One of the joints taken into consideration in the SFMA is the ankle joint. The body is composed of joints stacked one of top of the other forming the musculoskeletal system. Some joints support stability like the hips, while others have mobility as their primary function, which includes the ankle. The SFMA will assess the ankle's full range of motion and how much flexibility each ankle has. The calf muscle is a large muscle that relies on the ankle to support its function. Activities like running, wearing high heels, or jobs that require standing all have an effect on the calf muscles. The key to supporting the ankle include keeping the calf muscles stretched out properly to avoid stiffening or decreased range of motion. Good calf stretches include standing with your palms flat against a wall, and one of your heels butted up to the wall, so the sole of your foot is pressed flush against the wall. Hold this position for 30 seconds, then alternate ankles. Another stretch can be done while laying flat on your back on a flat surface, legs straight out in front of you. Take one ankle at a time and aim your toes toward your nose, aiming to reach within 10-15 degrees of a full 90 degree angle. Calf stretches should be done 6-8 times a day to keep the ankles supported. Often times, the ankle's inhibited movement or stiffness can lead to other issues in the body, like lower back pain, or hip discomfort. Scheduling an SFMA appointment will lead to the joint issue(s) in the body that requires treatment- either chiropractic, family practice, orphysical therapy depending upon assessment. Do your ankles ache, swell, or make odd sounds? Tune in as Nichole Roiko, Doctor of Physical Therapy, explains how a selective functional movement assessment can lead to healthier, well-supported ankles.