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Dorsiflexion: What You Need to Know?

Dorsiflexion: There are several joints and muscle groups in our body that need a regular warm-up to improve its mobility. But we often ignore them due to many reasons which can result in further misery. And dorsiflexion is one of them. Dorsiflexion is referred to as the action of backward bending and contraction of the body parts such as the ankle or wrists. Moreover, you can also dorsiflex your fingers and toes.

Dorsiflexion is very crucial in several aspects. If you’ve ever seen the fitness professionals doing the perfect squats, it is all because of the proper dorsiflexion. The same applies to the sprinters as they have to be quick while raising their foot off the ground.

How to dorsiflex your hand and foot

Well, you can do it in several ways. To dorsiflex your hand at the wrist, try flexing your wrist joint by pushing your palm back towards the forearm. Also, consider taking the help of any flat surface if you want. Always try to keep the forearm fixed for better dorsiflexion.

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In case of dorsiflexion of the foot, push your toes slowly with your hands closer to the shins. This way, your shinbones are being contracted as well. You can also do it by raising your ball portion while keeping the heel fixed on the ground, in the standing position.

The dorsiflexion muscles present in our hands and foot are:

  • Tibialis anterior
  • Extensor hallicus longus
  • Extensor digitorum longus
  • Peroneus Tertius

Limitations to the dorsiflexion 

There are several ways to impede proper dorsiflexion. This happens because the range of motion is obstructed. An impaired ankle can be one of the reasons. It includes having a tight ankle. Now, there can be several reasons due to which your range of motion is limited. It may happen due to heredity or any past injuries that led to the formation of scar tissues. Moreover, arthritis and other diseases such as ganglion cyst can also be one of the reasons. Some of the possible causes have been illustrated below:

  • Heredity: Heredity can be one of the reasons for poor dorsiflexion.
  • Ankle injuries: Ankle sprain is very common among us. And if it doesn’t heal properly, chances are that it might be one of the reasons to limit the dorsiflexion of the ankle.
  • Ankle joint restriction: The restriction of the ankle joint can be due to the formation of scar tissue.
  • Other injuries: Several other injuries may limit the dorsiflexion even if it has occurred in places like the hip and lower back. This, in turn, affects mobility.

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Tests to check the proper dorsiflexion

  • Firstly, try to stand by keeping both your feet together. Plus, raise the balls of your foot and do it without leaning back. If you could do it properly, then you’re fine but if you couldn’t, you must think about improving the dorsiflexion of the ankle.
  • The second test can be air squats. If you’re facing any difficulty while performing air squats, then this is another indication of poor dorsiflexion.

Now, if you didn’t feel any trouble while doing the above said, you’re good to go. Just keep performing some exercises to keep up the mobility. Although they had experienced any misery there are other ways to improve them. All the tips for improving dorsiflexion are elucidated below.

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How to improve dorsiflexion

Well, there can be several methods to improve dorsiflexion in a certain area. Performing yoga can be of great help. Try doing camel pose, chair pose, and child’s pose.

Improving dorsiflexion in your toes and feet 

Do some stretching exercises to help increase flexibility. For toe stretching, you can do it by lifting your heel off the ground. This will increase pressure on your toes, thereby helping you to increase mobility. Also, stand in front of a wall and place the toes of your foot alternatively by making an angle. Now, slowly bring the heel closer and also try raising your toes in the upward direction. This process ensures maximum stretching. Do this repeatedly to get a good result.

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 Well, you can do the leg extension while standing as well as in a sitting position, though the second option is more preferred. After obtaining a fixed position, slowly bring your leg in the forward position until it completely reaches the horizontal position. Now, as said in the above lines, bring your toes closer to the shins. You can use your hand in the process. Do it again with the other leg.

 Improving dorsiflexion in the hand and wrists 

When the proliferation of hands in dorsiflexion comes into the picture, you can do several exercises to help yourself.

Starting with the most common wrist rotation just bring both of your hands in front of you and keep them in a straight horizontal position. Now, make fists and start rotating them in both clockwise and anti-clockwise direction, bend them up and down and then sideways.

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On the flip side, wrist stretching will also do the work. Just put it against a flat surface and slowly push it with your bodyweight. Meanwhile, bring your forearm closer to the palm. Using your other hand will also do the work.

There’s also another way to perform dorsiflexion of the wrist: the palm press. Try the prayer pose by pressing the palms together and bringing your forearm down. Also, do it in the upside-down position with your fingers facing downwards. Do this regularly.


On the contrary, there can be some other indications that tell you to seek a professional trainer or therapist. Yes, you might be trying from your side to improve the dorsiflexion of wrist and foot but if you’re not seeing any progress, then it can be the result of other repercussions. Seeking any professional would help to find out the underlying issue and following their instructions properly will get rid of the pain. Therapy sessions that include massage and yoga would help you in the long run.