Pinching in Your Ankle When you squat? 3 WAYS TO IMPROVE it!

The ankle a very important, but an underappreciated joint in the lower body.  Limitations in ankle mobility and control can affect the mid-foot as well as the knee, hip and even the low back.  Often times, athletes and clients will continue to perform self-myofascial release to the their calf and the muscles on the back of their lower leg trying to improve their ankle mobility.

These 2 techniques can be great options to address soft tissue limitations that could be limiting ankle mobility.

But, sometimes, athletes or clients will feel a “pinch” in the front of their ankle when performing ankle mobility drills, checking their ankle mobility with the Knee to Wall Test

or when squatting, etc.

When there is a pinch in the front of the ankle, it is typically not due to soft tissue limitations in the posterior aspect of the lower leg.

More often than not, it can be due to a joint mobility limitation, specifically at the ankle itself.  

*Disclaimer*: If you are dealing with an injury or are not having an improvement in your symptoms, seek out a licensed medical professional.

If you are dealing with a pinch in the front of the ankle, here are 3 quick and easy ways to improve your ankle mobility and minimize a pinching sensation.

1.  Banded Ankle Mobilizations

This technique is one of the more common techniques out there to improve ankle mobility. It involves attaching a super band to a stable object and then placing the other end around your ankle, just below the medial and lateral malleoli (bones on the inside and outside of your lower leg).

Place a moderate amount of tension through the band and assume a half kneeling position.  Then, keeping your foot on the ground, bring your knee over your toes. The band is helping to desensitize the stiffness at the joint and to help improve the ankle’s ability to absorb load and move through an active range of motion.

Perform for 8-10 reps for a 3-5 sec hold at the end position.

2. Self Ankle Mobilization

Similar to the previous option of using a band, you can also use your hand to help facilitate an improvement in range of motion at the ankle by applying force through the ankle.

Place the web of one of your hands just below both lateral and medial malleoli.  Apply a force directly back towards you through the ankle.  Maintain this pressure and then move the knee over the ankle.  

If this improves the pinching in your ankle and/or improves your mobility, then this may be a better option than using a band.  Perform for 8-10 reps for a 2-3 second hold.

3. Self Tibial IR Mobilization

This next option is a little bit further away from the ankle, but I have seen it help people who experience a pain or pinching in the front of the ankle when their knee travels over their toes.

It is called a Self Tibial Internal Rotation (IR) mobilization.

Firmly grasp the upper portion of your tibia just below the knee.  Rotate your lower leg in towards midline and then actively bring your knee over your toes.  Perform 8-10 reps for a 2-3 second hold.

*Be cautious not to allow the knee to go inside the ankle when performing this.  Sometimes this can create irritation at the knee.  Make sure to rotate at the tibia/shin and not allow the knee to go inside the ankle.  If you experience knee pain with this, do not perform.

If this improves your range of motion and/or improves the pinch in the front of your ankle, this may be a better option than the aforementioned methods.

These options all work.  People always ask what these different "treatments" or exercises do and different people with say that different things are happening.  The point here is that all of these various methods are putting you and your body in a better position to move and takes stress off of the ankle joint.

If you are experiencing a pinching in the front of your ankle and self-myofascial release hasn't been working, try:

Banded Ankle Mobilizations

Self Ankle Mobilizations

Tibial IR Mobilizations.

Andrew Millett