Raise your hand if you have trouble squatting? Does your chest drop forward when squatting? Difficulty in squatting can originate from poor ankle mobility. So time to take a better look at the ankle!
Your ankle should be a mobile joint, allowing full dorsiflexion (pulling your ankle up), past a 90 degree angle. Here is a simple way to assess if you have enough ankle dorsiflexion:
Stand facing a wall and have your right foot ~4” away from the wall. Keeping your right heel flat, bend your knee towards the wall, making sure your knee is staying in line with your second toe. If you’re able to touch the wall with your right knee, you have adequate ankle flexion. If you can’t touch the wall with your knee, then you most likely have an ankle mobility restriction. Repeat on the other side.
A general rule of thumb is that if you’re able to touch your knee to the wall when standing 4-5 inches away, you are considered to have adequate/normal ankle dorsiflexion. What do you need to do if you can’t touch your knee to the wall? Try these couple of exercises to help you!
Use a foam roller or lacrosse ball to find tight, tender spots in your calf and/or plantar fascia. Spend ~2 minutes on each side to help loosen those tight sports up.
Stand in the same position as the above test and bend your front knee towards the wall. Hold that position for a count of 10 seconds and relax your knee. Repeat that for 2 minutes on each side or the side that was unable to touch.
Perform a basic calf stretch in standing, with your back leg straight, as well as your back leg slightly bent. Hold this stretch for a count of 30-60 seconds and repeat 2-3x/each leg.
If you were unable to touch your knee to the wall from ~4” away, while keeping your heel flat, try the above exercises daily to improve your ankle mobility.