Daily Mobility Exercises by Dr. Kelly Starrett Forums Foot/Ankle Squatting with cerebral palsy in achilles tendons

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    • #70891
      AvatarKyle Nadler

      Hey guys, so basically I was born 5 weeks premature and the only real side effect of that was I was born with vvvvvvvvvveeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrryyyyyyy slight cerebral palsy in my achilles tendons, which cause me to naturally want to walk on my toes.  Besides that I’ve never been handicapped in any way and have always been a good athlete etc.

      This has caused problems with me squatting, as I have pretty much no ankle flexibility.  I’ve got some thanks to ~ 2 years of physical therapy when I was 8-9 (which also helped me not completely walk on my toes, if I actively think about it I’ll walk normally and if I don’t it’s not too bad), but here is a pic of me squatting down normally, like one would do with a high bar squat. (sorry about the size, if a mod wants to shrink it that’d be fine)..  There is NO way I can do that without my heels rising up, unless I of course let myself fall backwards.  The only way my heels won’t rise up if my back’s against a wall, but at that point it’s the equivalent of doing inferior smith machine squats.
      I’ve been squatting low bar style, since that seems better for me as it doesn’t require as much depth or flexibility, but even wearing squat shoes with a heel it’s natural for my heels to want to rise at the bottom, and it isn’t an issue with too much weight etc that it is for most people whose heels rise up.
      So any advice on either flexibilty exercises I can try (but I think it’s pretty much fruitless since my problem’s a little more than just stiff or inflexible muscles), any particular squatting style that would be best such as box squats or the like, or if I should for example use less weight while ALWAYS making sure my heels don’t rise or I should just accept the fact that my heels want to rise and do squats like a normal person but just let the heels come up if possible (even with something like high bar)?
    • #74497

      Getting tissues up/down stream in the best place possible can help the situation.
      Addressing your ankle, calf, heel cords, hamstring, psoas will help improve the situation.
      This will feed slack to the system.

    • #77130

      Hey jco!

      I’m a Crossfitter with mild CP too, however mine only effects my right side. Have you found a way to improve your ankle mobility in the squat? I have the exact same issue that you describe!
    • #77134
      AvatarTom Matchinsky

      Don’t worry about getting more dorsiflexion. Given the mechanism of the problem, you likely aren’t going to gain much. It is best to do your squatting with load to a box that allows you to keep your heels down (even if it is above parallel, doesn’t really matter anyway) and load up things like deadlifts and heavy carries and sled work to improve leg strength, even subbing split squats is a good alternative. Don’t get caught up thinking you have to squat below parallel with a bar on your back to achieve your personal fitness goals.

      MWOD Staff
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