Is it Joint Mobilization or Dynamic Stretching?

……could you please me help clarify the difference between ankle mobilization and dynamic stretching?

First off, it doesn’t really matter what you call the drills that you are doing as long as you find value in, and they yield a desirable result.

Here’s what I believe the definitions of stretching to be…

Active – You are controlling the movement
example – Half Kneeling Hip Flexor Active Isolated Stretching
Passive – Someone or something is controlling the movement
example – Supine passive ROM of the gleno-humeral joint with overpressure
Dynamic – Patterning from slack to stretch in a full movement
example – Supine hamstring ranging from supine to 1-leg raised with zero knee extension
Static – Keeping the end range held
example – Standing slant board ankle DF


And you can have combinations of all of the above as well. You probably have to choose active/passive and dynamic/static.
But you can do Active Dynamic with a Passive Static at the end.
You can do Passive Dynamic and then an Active Static at the end.
I’m sure each combination has different levels of effectiveness and science, but I do think you can demonstrate and explain each combination definitively.

Some results of these movements will by default be a mobility drill.
Mobility is defined as the ability of an unloaded joint system to move through a range of movement.  It is a relative term, and one that should be audited with a movement that demonstrates the degree of mobility that you want.  For example, you can test ankle DF mobility as 4″ in front of your toes as an audit for ankle mobility as a limiting factor to the Deep Squat pattern in the FMS.
There are many different limiting factors to mobility that include joint integrity, muscle length, muscle tone, and pain.
A successful mobility drill is one that yields that joint system to its excursion that meets your definition of acceptable limits.  If the limiting factor was muscle length, and your “dynamic stretching” technique restored it, then they were one in the same.

Brilliant how this comes up when you Google Images for Mobility.

A mobility drill may or may not be stretching muscle. But it’s still doing very good things.
And a dynamic stretch may not be truly mobilizing the joint.  Best way to find out is test-retest, and you’ll see if it got the job done.

  • August 1, 2011

Leave a Reply 2 comments

Christopher Reply

Laughed out loud at that “explosion” image.

I love how you define your terms. Simply communicating on an agreeable level like this can eliminate so much senseless discussion.

Thank you Charlie.

analdin Reply

PURPOSE: This study aims to provide effects of therapeutic techniques as well as basic materials of safety by comparing and analyzing the effects of hamstring flexibility and dynamic stability of lower lumbar according to Stretching and Massage Techniques to adults with reduced the flexibility of hamstring. METHODS: This study conducted differential diagnosis through sit and reach test(SRT) and Schober test to select subjects who have shortened hamstring without any spinal problem. Selected subjects were divided into two groups randomly; HSG(Hamstring Stretching Group, n=8) and HMG(Hamstring Massage Group, n=8) and they received treatment for 2 weeks. To take statistics, SRT and dynamic view using x-ray were used. RESULTS: On SRT, HSG and HMG showed significant difference between pre and post test. A comparison of the difference value between HSG and HMG, HSG() has more remarkable outcome than HMG(). Lower lumbar intervertebral disc length test for Intervertebral disc length(IDL)L45 and IDLL5S1 did not show significant differences between two groups and difference value. CONCLUSION: This study showed that stretching is more effective to improve hamstring flexibility than massage technique. Especially, flexibility increase of the hamstring in vertebral stabilization cannot affect improvement possibility will make a flexibility in order and the intervention and stabilization exercise of the spine.

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