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Kurt Southworth 08-08-2013 02:55 PM

ankle mobility help needed
I've been working extremely hard on my flexibility lately. I want to begin olympic weightlifting but I'm not going to add much more weight to my lifts until my squat mobility improves.

My ankles are clearly my weakest link. I have good hip flexion and pretty good hip rotational abilities. My t-spine extension is improving and my shoulder mobility is pretty good as well.

When I squat though, to maintain good posture I have to lift my heels off the ground considerably (and they really scoot inward as well). If I try to keep my heels down, I'm really reaching forward and I lose all spine extension.

One thing that I'm convinced on when it comes to my ankles is that I do not have a flexibility issue, I have a joint mobility problem. I've stretched my calves and other muscles significantly with no improvement. My particular favorite stretch being the Cal Strength barbell on your knees stretch.

When I squat, my heels really scoot inward. I cant bring my knees outward at all without my whole foot coming with it. My foot curls inward and all my weight ends up on the outside of my foot. During a squat my weight ends up kind of on the bone right below my pinky toe. Sometimes I roll over a bone there and it can be quite painful.

If I drop into a squat and hold it for a long time, I get pain under my lateral maleoli and sometimes on the front of my ankle as well. When I do a wall dorsiflexion stretch I never feel anything in my calves or heel cord, but I often get a pinch at the front of my ankles. To fix that, I often get a resistance band to pull the bottom of my shin backward (the opposite of a mulligan stretch I believe).

This can improve my wall dorsiflexion stretching, but not my squat, because my heel still comes way inward and my weight ends up on the outside of my foot.

I took pictures of my problem in a previous post here:

A few M-WOD's that really caught my eye are these:

In the first two he's talking about calcaneal eversion, and I have zero. I also get that twisting/torsion motion in my feet and I also am afraid that in all my attempts at eversion and dorsiflexion I'm giving myself more of a bunion big toe thing as well.

I also have noticed that I'm missing terminal knee extension and am gradually improving my knee mobility with these two:

I'm sorry this is such a long post, but I have been working EXTREMELY hard on this and I just can't seem to fix my ankles. Is there anything you guys know that can help me?

Kurt Southworth 08-08-2013 02:56 PM

Re: ankle mobility help needed

This video caught my eye as well. Do you think I need a chiro to do something like this to me?

Michael Cook 08-09-2013 10:01 AM

Re: ankle mobility help needed
Do you have weightlifting shoes? The raised heel will help, at least a little bit.

Kurt Southworth 08-09-2013 11:15 AM

Re: ankle mobility help needed
Yes I do have weightlifting shoes and they help some, but its not that much of a surprise if my heels come off the ground so much that they also come off the sole of the shoe if you know what I mean.

And whether or not they come off the sole of the shoe, they are always pressed against the interior side of the shoe (my heels sliding far inwards again)

I just spent a good hour and a half today with foam rolling and stretching and my squat improved ZERO.

improving my terminal knee extension and doing the reverse mulligan on my ankles did nothing for me either.

Brendan McNamar 08-10-2013 07:49 AM

Re: ankle mobility help needed
I read over your other post as well. I can't do pistols (yet) due to ankle mobility yet I can squat fine.

Your heels twisting in is a symptom. The ankle most likely is tight but not the cause.

Most of the time I see this fault people have their stance too narrow and drive their knees forward instead of hips back.

Video would be good.

Squatting to a med ball can help teach hips back. Your heals go at the very front edge of the ball. Keeping torso in correct position you send your hips back and down until you touch the top of the ball without allowing you feet to shift. No bouncing off the ball. Use only enough weight to help stretch thing out but you can do lots of reps.

Use video or another person to watch your feet. The second the heels move stop and try again.

Stefan Westernacher 08-10-2013 08:39 AM

Re: ankle mobility help needed
Try these two:
(both wfs)

Kurt Southworth 08-10-2013 10:48 AM

Re: ankle mobility help needed
thanks for the help. I'll get a lot of reps in of squatting without my heels coming up. But I have a question about that too. My right heel is slightly worse in when it comes to screwing inwards during the squat. I've noticed that my right heel is naturally/chronically inverted at all times. I honestly feel like I have zero calcaneal eversion in my left foot and negative eversion in my right (because its always inverted and I cant move it into an everted position).

And so my question is, if I can't evert my heel in a static stretch or if I cant evert my heel even when I put a whole lot of force into it, Why should I expect it to evert during a bodyweight squat where theres not a lot of forces everting my foot?

Thats why I feel like I need some sort of joint manipulation work.

And in regards to those two Mwods where you squat with the resistance band for support, I've tried those and they cant help me. I love the idea of camping out in a good position and leaning over to get more weight on your ankles, but that doesn't work for me. Because even with the resistance band, when I get to the bottom position my heels are still elevated and twisted and I'm in a bad position again.

I'll get a video up by the end of the day as well

Kurt Southworth 08-10-2013 03:00 PM

Re: ankle mobility help needed
here are the videos:

Andrew G. Greenberg 08-10-2013 04:08 PM

Re: ankle mobility help needed
Your mobility problems appear to be beyond the scope of a message board.

Yes, some mobilizations to your ankle would probably increase motion and help you get into a deeper squat. Attempting to diagnose the accessory glide restrictions yourself and selecting and applying a mob to correct the deficit is probably not going to happen.

Please go see a physical therapist.

Kurt Southworth 08-10-2013 08:51 PM

Re: ankle mobility help needed
I saw a chiro very briefly today. He believes I have an issue in my SI joint and that I have some sort of nerve entrapment kind of thing where the nerves/muscles responsible for keeping my heels down are getting cut off.

He recommended glute activation exercises, lax ball work in my glutes, and squatting with my back against a wall, going down as far as I can without my heels coming up, and repeating this several times. He described it sort of as, the point in my squat where my heels come up is the point where my nerves are getting cut off and I'm losing the ability to keep my heels down.

I'd really like to hear what your thoughts are on this. I really have a hard time believing this. Mostly because deadlift is my best exercise, my butt got way bigger after deadlifting for a year or so, and I even included glute bridges with a heavy barbell on my lap into my workout for awhile.

Also, if my problem is my nerves are getting cut off during my squat, wouldn't that mean that in a standing position my nerves aren't cut off and I should have full ankle ROM? but i definitely don't

I'll see him again on tuesday and I will try and find a way to get him to work more on my ankles without being completely dismissive of his previous ideas

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