Ankle mobility is very important for many functional activities. While ankle stability and strength are often addressed during ankle injuries, mobility plays a big role as well. There are many movements that require ankle mobility to prevent compensation in other joints such as the knee, hip, or low back. Having that mobility allows you to squat deeper, run more smoothly, and move laterally during sports. When there isn’t enough movement in the ankle, your other joints have to compensate and work harder. A very common example is how the back is affected during a squat. When the ankle doesn’t have that mobility, specifically in dorsiflexion (when the foot is flexed towards you, or when the foot is planted, the shin is going over the toes), in order to squat deeper your back has to move differently and bend more to compensate. You will see this often in people who lean forward, almost doing a more deadlift type movement, or round their mid backs when attempting to squat deeper. Without that ankle mobility, the back takes on more stress and pressure.
There are several ways to work on mobility on your own. The videos attached will show how to increase your mobility in dorsiflexion, inversion, and eversion. Working on increasing ankle mobility will help improve athletic performance and is something that should be looked at when assessing functional and athletic movement.