Children and adults can usually achieve 20 to 30 degrees of dorsiflexion. This means the foot can rotate upwards at the ankle (tibio talar) joint so that the angle between the leg and surface of the foot is 60 to 70 degrees (ie., 20 to 30 degrees less than the neutral or 90 degree position).
Children with limited dorsiflexion might be able to achieve only a few degrees of dorsiflexion or be permanently in plantaflexion. The causes of limited dorsiflexion are too numerous to describe here, but the result is usually a problem with the gait, such as “Toe Walking” and decreased mobility.
Sometimes poor dorsiflexion is treated surgically by lengthening the Achilles tendon. The problem is that children’s legs grow so fast that the tendons cannot keep up.
Regular physiotherapy is an excellent way of maintaining or improving dorsiflexion in children. But for children physiotherapy can be boring and it is difficult to maintain a regular schedule of therapy.
Dorsi Ramp is an excellent way of stretching the calf muscles and Achilles tendons. Because the child is standing their whole body weight is applied to the stretch. A few minutes of good quality stretching each day can make a huge difference and lead to much improved dorsiflexion, mobility and a normal gait.
Dorsi Ramp has been specifically designed for children. It is strong and stable and the moulding encourages the feet into the correct position. Dorsi Ramp sessions can readily be incorporated into normal activities, such as teeth cleaning, where the ramp doubles as a step up to the sink. This way at least two good stretches can be achieved each day without fuss or distraction.