T Nation

Ankle Flexibility and Knee Pain

Hi friends!

My left ankle has always had poor dorsoflexion flexibility thanks to various sprains and chipped bones etc. Ive had it cleaned out, and while ROM is 90% of my better ankle, its still tight and requires heaps of mobility work to get it going.

Recently I have been doing heaps of knee to wall ankle mobility drills to help with the flexibility, and my anterior knee pain has increased. I have suffered from mild anterior knee pain before and I had always put it down to been related to my poor ankle mobility.

Anyway my question is; are my knee-to-wall ankle mobility drills irritating my anterior knee? I had read somewhere that the knee-to-wall drill can make anterior knee pain worse. What should I be doing instead?

Cliff notes:

  • Poor ankle mobility.
  • Doing knee-wall ankle mobility drills, which seems to be improving ankle mobility but making anterior knee pain worse.
  • What other mobility stretches should I be doing?


I would say your knee to wall stretches are irritating your patella. This is due to the weighted forward position your pushing your knee into with that stretch.

You said you’ve been doing heaps of mobility work. Have you followed Dr. Kelly Starrett at all? Simply typing his name into youtube followed by “ankle” will yield you a dozen or more videos containing multiple mobilizations.

His book Becoming A Supple Leopard is also worth its weight in gold. I too have really poor ankle mobility and many of the techniques I’ve learned from him have been very helpful. Definitely get to know Starrett if you aren’t familiar.

You just have to experiment and see what works for you. Some mobilizations I see little change from, others make huge differences. Also, concerning knee pain. Look into “voodoo flossing” the knee. Makes a huge difference for me.

Here’s a link to a 30min mobility class for ankles instructed by another PhD who works with Starrett at his gym.

Best of luck!