What Is Dorsiflexion Definition and Differ From Plantar Flexion?

by Mousumi Mukherjee
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Are you an individual who gives importance to fitness over everything? Do you want to stay super active & run faster than others? Then you must learn the art of Dorsiflexion. Startled to hear about that, right? It’s undoubtedly a new term for you that you have never heard before. 

Okay! We may assure you that there is nothing complex in it, and it’s as simple as that. It’s just a better practice of the daily hand and foot movements (backward movements) that we do. Want to know about its benefit? 

Well! Dorsiflexion will help your foot & hand muscles to remain active by tensing them to spring in the forward direction into the next stride & help you to run or work faster. It puts your feet in a perfect position for absorbing the shock of getting down as you run. Due to this, the ground contact time for each stride while running is reduced.

Feeling interested to know more about Dorsiflexion & its process? No need to worry! We will definitely help you with that. After all, that’s why we are here! So, let’s proceed:

What Is Dorsiflexion Definition?

Dorsiflexion may be defined as one’s hand’s or foot’s backward bending or contraction. If you extend your foot at your ankle & your hand at your wrist, then you have done the movements of Dorsiflexion. As a normal individual, you are capable of dorsiflexing your fingers & toes.

You can do your ankle dorsiflexion if you move your toes backward towards your shins. Your shinbones get contracted & your ankle joint will be flexed as you do Dorsiflexion of the foot. Also, you can dorsiflex your foot by lifting your foot’s ball off the ground as you stand by keeping your heel rooted into the ground. 

You can do wrist dorsiflexion or Dorsiflexion of your hand if you bend your wrist joint backward towards your arm (lower). Do it by broadening your arm & hand on a horizontal surface at your front. Now, lift your hand backward, and your fingers steer the motion by holding your arm still. Besides that, if you move your hands’ palms jointly in front of the chest, imitating a prayer pose, Dorsiflexion happens.

What Are The Conditions That Limit Dorsiflexion?

Ankle dorsiflexion gets limited by numerous conditions, for example, tight calves. Also, the flat foot is a condition that limits the Dorsiflexion of one’s foot, and these conditions negatively affect Dorsiflexion by limiting one’s range of motion. 

Besides that, an impaired ankle is also, in some way, an inhibition to Dorsiflexion. It happens because of the excessive tightness of one’s ankle or due to some injury. Yes, a restricted ankle may be hereditary. However, it commonly occurs because of an injury. This is because an injury often induces scar tissue formation, which in turn tightens the ankle.

The Dorsiflexion of your wrist may be limited by arthritis or wounds. Apart from that, ganglion cysts, Kienbock’s disease, or carpal tunnel syndrome may also be the reason behind it. Also, if you have gone through trauma in any of your other body parts, it may inhibit Dorsiflexion.

Also Read: How To Do DB Pullover

Dorsiflexion And Plantar Flexion Difference

Dorsiflexion means one’s hand’s or foot’s backward bending or contraction. If you extend your foot at your ankle & your hand at your wrist, then you have done the movements of Dorsiflexion. On the other hand, Plantar Flexion is it’s just the opposite. It is the movement of your foot or hand downwards (forward bending), away from your body. 

The muscle involved with Dorsiflexion is the tibialis anterior, whereas muscles involved with Plantar Flexion are gastrocnemius, plantaris & soleus. Besides that, the Peroneus Brevis muscles (of the lateral compartment) in our leg work for the eversion of our ankle joint. An example of Dorsiflexion is when you walk on your heels. Examples of Plantar Flexion are the movement that occurs on the depression of your car pedal or when you are standing on your tiptoes. 

Read Also: RDL Exercise and Workout

How Can You Improve Dorsiflexion?

How Can You Improve Dorsiflexion
How Can You Improve Dorsiflexion

Here are the techniques through which Dorsiflexion can be improved:

For Improving Ankle Dorsiflexion:

You may go for certain yoga poses like camel pose, Child’s pose & Chair pose.

Besides that, you can also improve the mobility of your ankle by stretching your calves. It will loosen up & stretch your body’s larger muscles which are responsible for affecting your ankle movement. 

Also, apart from that, you may roll your calf over a foam-made roller in back & forth movement.

Furthermore, you can also choose to do various ankle mobility exercises. For example, with both of your ankles, try to make circles & that too in both directions. After that, you move your ankles side to side & then forward & backward. 

For Improving Dorsiflexion Of Foot Muscles & Toes:

Stretch your foot’s connective tissues by rolling it over a small ball, such as a tennis ball. Do this on each of the sides for some minutes.

For Toes Dorsiflexion, You Can Do Toe Stretches:

  • Pull your toes in the backward direction towards your foot’s top while you are barefoot.
  • Now face a wall & stand there
  • Position your one foot’s toes against the wall & the foot at an >(angle)
  • Now shift your weight slowly towards the back 
  • Pull your heels closer & attempt to lift the toes of your foot a bit higher.
  • Again do the same stretches for the opposite side.

Leg Extension

  • As you are in a seated position, intertwine your fingers surrounding your foot’s bottom. 
  • Lengthen your leg in your front 
  • Using your hands, move back your foot’s toes toward your shins.
  • Reiterate the same steps for the opposite side

For Increasing Wrist Dorsiflexion

1. Rotation Of Wrist:

  • Extend your arms towards your frontside & make fists with the hands
  • Swivel your hands (both directions) 
  • Move your wrists both up & down & after that, from side to side.

2. Stretching Of Wrist:

  • Position yourself in a Cat-Cow yoga posture, that is, lower yourself (bend) onto all fours.
  • Now, put your hands underneath the shoulders & your palms horizontal on the floor. 
  • Slowly, crouch your weight in the forward direction. Keep yourself conscious of the quantity of your applied pressure.
  • Counter the stretch. Do it by placing your hands back on the floor & your fingers confronting you.
  • Slowly stretch your wrist but not in the same direction. Stretch it in the direction opposite to it.

3. Arm Extension:

  • Extend the arms of your body in your front by interlacing your fingers.
  • Now, press your hands’ palms off from your body. 
  • To deepen this stretch, remove one hand to use it for gently pressing your other hand back in the direction of your arm.
  • Repeat the same stretch for your fingers.
  • Then, repeat for the opposite side.

4. Pressing Of Palm

  • Position your hands as if you are in a prayer pose.
  • Now, press the palms of both hands together & after that, lower down the hands.
  • After lowering them, flip your hands’ position such that the fingers are facing downwards. 
  • Gently & gradually lift back the hands to the place from where you started.
  • Do the above same steps a few times.

Also Read: What is Isokinetic Exercise

Whom Should You Consult If It’s Not Happening?

If you feel that even after doing the Dorsiflexion improving steps at your home, nothing is improving, you may seek the help of a trained professional. Or a movement therapist can also help you regarding this problem by making you familiar with yoga therapy, massage therapy & myofascial therapy for improving your Dorsiflexion.

Read Also: Clamshell Exercise and Workout With Resistance Band

The Final Words

Thus, you have undoubtedly got a clear idea about Dorsiflexion from the above write-up. So, now use that knowledge & try to excel in it for keeping your hands & feet active. 

FAQs

Q.1. What are Dorsiflexion and Plantarflexion?

Answer: Dorsiflexion means one’s hand’s or foot’s backward bending or contraction. If you extend your foot at your ankle & your hand at your wrist, then you have done the movements of Dorsiflexion. Or, if you move your hands’ palms jointly in front of the chest, imitating a prayer pose, Dorsiflexion happens. 

You can do your ankle dorsiflexion if you move your toes backward towards your shins. Also, may dorsiflex your foot by lifting your foot’s ball off the ground as you stand by keeping your heel rooted into the ground. 

On the other hand, Plantar Flexion is it’s just the opposite. It is the movement of your foot or hand downwards (forward bending), away from your body. 

The muscle involved with Dorsiflexion is the tibialis anterior, whereas muscles involved with Plantar Flexion are gastrocnemius, plantaris & soleus.

An example of Dorsiflexion is when you walk on your heels. Examples of Plantar Flexion are the movement that occurs on the depression of your car pedal or when you are standing on your tiptoes. 

Q.2. What muscles do Dorsiflexion?

Answer: The Muscle involved with Dorsiflexion is the tibialis anterior muscle, just like the muscles engaged in Plantar Flexion are gastrocnemius, plantaris & soleus. Besides that, the Peroneus Brevis muscles (of the lateral compartment) in our leg work for the eversion of our ankle joint.

Q.3. What does Dorsiflexion help with?

Answer: Dorsiflexion will help your foot & hand muscles to remain active by tensing them to spring in the forward direction into the next stride & help you to run or work faster. It puts your feet in a perfect position for absorbing the shock of getting down as you run. Due to Dorsiflexion, the ground contact time for each stride while running is reduced.

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