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03 February 2011 ~ 1 Comment

Posterior Tib Mobilization

In this post I’m going to show you how to use the tennis ball to mobilize the the posterior tibialis muscle which is underneath the gastroc and soleus muscles in the calf. The goal with this mobilization is to anchor one end of the muscle down and then actively stretch out the rest of the muscle against it. You can read more about the why and how of these mobilization techniques here.

Key Points

1) Go back and read the massage post specifically on the hand itself to review the body landmarks and muscles in this region. In this post we will be focusing on the posterior tibialis muscle. This means that you’ll need to be able to find it!

In the picture above it is the red muscle. While it’s deep to the larger gastroc/soleus muscles, it can be easily found on the inside part of your leg where it comes out near the bone, becomes a tendon and then runs down the leg, behind your ankle bone into the arch of your foot. Start by sitting cross legged (on the floor or in a chair) with the inner ankle bone up towards the sky. With your thumbs on the tibia bone in the middle of the calf between knee and ankle, slide backwards an inch or so into the muscle. Using just your ankle, try to supinate your foot (lift your arch up towards the ceiling). You will feel the muscle move under your thumbs. That is the posterior tib and what we’re working on.

2) To perform these mobilizations, you’re going to need a tennis ball and some floor space. You’re going to need to make a combo roller/tennis ball setup like I use in the video, use a raised surface, or something like a trigger point block. Bottom line, we need some clearance room to move the foot but don’t want the tennis ball to roll out of place. I don’t have a block or anything convenient so I just packing tape the tennis ball to my foam roller.

The basic idea is to apply pressure with the tennis ball by positioning the ball and then using the other leg to add weight. Start with your toes and ankle pointed down and in, apply pressure, and then try to pull your toes/ankle up towards and out. Remember, only go as far as you can comfortably. You’re not trying to force the movement and you may not be able to move very far at first. If this is too much or the spot is too tender ease up on the pressure or move to a different spot. The picture below has yellow x’s to show you possible spots to work on. As you move down towards the ankle, it will be more difficult as the tennis ball is more likely to move. Try to stay a few inches above the ankle for best results. See the video below for full details and demonstration of the mobilizations.

3) Repeat for 10 reps.

4) Same warm up rules apply. Try to do this either following a workout or warm up the area with the foam roller first. Especially if you’re coming back from an injury or this is a problem area.


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One Response to “Posterior Tib Mobilization”

  1. Nemo 5 February 2011 at 7:33 am Permalink

    Another great post. One more tip for getting a little room for your heel during this move: If you have one of those foam Yoga blocks lying around, use it instead of the roller to prop the tennis ball on. I find this works great and it stays in place without the need for tape.

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