What is our mantra when it comes to ankle dorsiflexion/ankle rocker ? "Build anterior strength to achieve posterior length." We have been saying it for years. You MUST have the skill, endurance and strength of the anterior compartment muscles (tib.anterior, peroneus tertius, toe extensors) to even remotely get the posterior compartment (gastrosoleus achilles complex)to offer you reasonable length to get the dorsiflexion. You cannot get the joint range just by mobilizing and stretching the posterior compartment. Sure, you can borrow some range after stretching for a very brief period of time, but we choose to get our clients to earn and own the length. if there is contracture, yes, that is another matter. But, those are very rare cases for the most part. This is why so many have troubles transitioning into a more neutral heel drop (ie. lower) heeled shoe. They have not first achieved the requisite anterior SES (skill, endurance and strength) anteriorly to offer the ankle dorsiflexion range. These folks will often gait forward tibial progression through subtler joint over pronation and rear foot over eversion. Obviously this creates internal limb spin and knee valgus loading risks.
Gastrocnemius Contracture in Patients With and Without Foot Pathology. James R. Jastifer, MD1,2⇑, Jessica Marston, MD2