Ankle Mobility: A Brief Overview

The ankle joint is often a stubbornly stiff joint that needs some mobility work. But how do you really know if your ankle is truly stiff and needs more mobility? This self ankle mobility assessment is a great start!

The video below explains the self-assessment, but for those who prefer to read, we will explain via this quick blog post as well.

Roughly speaking, we should be able to get our knee 3-5 inches past our toes while keeping our heel on the ground. Some people say our knee should be able to track past our toes HALF the length of our foot. We will settle with 3-5 inches being normal.

Ankle Mobility Self-Assessment

In a half-kneeling position with one of your feet touching the base of a wall, try to touch that same leg’s knee to the wall. If you were able to touch your knee to the wall in this position, then slowly work your foot away from the wall, repeating the process. Be sure to perform on both ankles!

Make sure your heel stays flat on the ground. Make sure your foot’s arch does not collapse. Make sure your knee shoots straight forward over your 2nd toe.

You should be able to move your foot 3-5 inches away from the wall and successfully touch your knee to the wall without any of the above compensations.

If you were unable to achieve 3-5 inches without compensating, then you have some work to do mobility-wise.

Did you have pinching in the front of your ankle joint? Did you have a great amount of stretching in the back of your calf/Achilles tendon while performing this assessment? If you answered yes to any of the above, check out our mobility exercises below to improve your ankle mobility.

Ankle Mobility Exercises

1. Banded ankle joint mobilization

2. Soft-tissue foam rolling

3. Stretching & PAILS/RAILS

4. Eccentric calf lowering exercise


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