Knee to Wall test
Test your ankle mobility with this simple test
Stiff ankles, especially the ability to dorsiflex—or lift your foot up—is a common issue I see in many patients. Poor ankle mobility is a major contributor to issues not only involving the ankle, but all the way up the kinetic chain, leading to issues at the knee, hip, and lower back. Lack of motion at the ankle causes other joints to overcompensate, leading to faster wear and tear. At a minimum, you should have about 10–15 degrees of dorsiflexion when measured with a protractor while lying down. However, a more functional way of measuring ankle mobility is the Knee to Wall test.
To perform the test, place a measuring tape on the ground parallel to a wall, measuring away from the wall. Kneel down in a lunch position with your lead foot two or three inches away from the wall. Push your front knee forward to see if it touches the wall without your heel lifting up. If you are able to touch your knee to the wall, try backing up until you are barely able to touch your knee against the wall. If you are able to back up five inches or more away from the wall, that means your ankle is mobile and has great dorsiflexion. If you are below three inches and/or have a significant difference between sides, you may need to work on ankle mobility.
The cause of stiff ankles can be caused by a number of reasons such as: calf muscle tightness, lack of ankle joint mobility, bone deformities, or poor muscle control to name a few. If you have a nagging ankle or knee issue and find that your ankle is lacking dorsiflexion mobility, It may be time to get it checked out by a professional to see how you can improve your mobility and relieve symptoms.
Image courtesy of: Brace Access