Ankle mobility is, without a doubt, the most commonly found mobility limitation I see in the fitness athletes that I work with, whether that is the weekend warrior or elite Olympic weightlifter. Restricted ankle mobility can significantly alter movement patterns. It will make obtaining full depth squats very difficult, and has been associated with a variety of injuries. Fixing stiff ankles is very high on my priority list when helping an athlete move better.
Fortunately, this importance of ankle dorsiflexion has become very well known by athletes, coaches, and clinicians. So this mobility component is being addressed more frequently lately.
But many athletes spend months working on improving ankle mobility in dorsiflexion without making significant progress.
Often, I’ve received questions on what to do when months of foam rolling, stretching, and joint band mobilizations don’t fix stiff ankles. And frequently, testing and addressing lateral tibial glide results in rapid changes in the ankles. This also helps many individuals with difficulty avoiding knee valgus while squatting!
Here is how I assess if lateral tibial glide is restricted:
If restricted, I have two go-to maneuvers that both produce rapid results.
The first mobilization should only be done by trained and licensed medical providers. To perform we need to understand how to properly perform joint mobilizations and be legally trained to do so.
This self lateral tibial glide mobilization works GREAT! Especially as a follow up to the above mobilization, or as a substitute for those who cannot perform manual therapy,
For other ankle resets, check out this video from TheManualTherapist for five more options.