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Severe Ankle Immobility. Leg Exercises?


So here is the lowdown:

I have severely limited ankle mobility, as in about 0 degrees dorsiflexion and about 20 degrees plantar flexion. And there really is nothing I can do to increase it due to that it is a problem with the actual bones of the joint, and not the tendons/ligaments/muscles.

So my question is what leg exercises would you all recommend for my routine? I am planning on using a starting strength like routine, but instead of squats I alternate leg presses and single leg presses, and instead of dead lifts, I do rack pulls. Are these my best options or what?

Also first post here on the forums


I have next to no ankle dorsiflexion.

if you do a low bar powerlifting style squat where you sit your butt back - no, sit your butt back further, no, sit your butt back even further - then your shins should be fairly upright. hence, you should be able to do a low bar powerlifting squat regardless of your ankle issue.

i found i can do a fairly reasonable approximation of a front squat by getting my olympic lifting shoes modified so the heel height is 2x standard. it isn't a perfect squat. i have trouble pulling my hips through, which may possibly be related to my lack of ankle dorsiflexion. but it might not.

i have long femurs - just in case you were going to mention that next.

heel raise. i use that for deadlifts, too. i can't get my legs properly involved in deadlifts without the heel raise. of course my deadlift is weaker than it would be if i didn't have my ankle issues and i could deadlift from the floor with flat shoes... but i do have my ankle issues and i can't deadlift from the floor without heel raise. so oh wells. heel raise it is.

welcome to the forums.

actually... i'll dig out a vid for you...


here you will see my knees really can't come much in front of my toes.

that places my hips back behind my midfoot which makes me want to fall over backwards (unless i hold something out front which helps balance me).

notice how when i push my knees out hard to the sides i can bring my hips forwards a bit more??

you might find that you need a slightly wider than usual stance and to drive your knees out to the sides a bit more than is usual.

i used to do all that standing on small plates. then i got some olympic lifting shoes (3/4 inch heel raise) but that wasn't enough. so i finally got the shoes modified by a shoe repair person who basically built me an additional wedge doubling the heel raise.

i find i can squat (front, high bar back, low bar back) and deadlift passably in them. also clean and snatch. they are handy for benching, too (can get my feet back well for leg drive). not so great for overhead stuff.

you should pay particular attention to your hip mobility otherwise your knees might start to mobilize (whereas they should be stable) to try and compensate for your immobile ankles.



Hi buddy,

Welcome to the "stuffed up ankles club". What happened to your ankles?
I think Alexus has covered all that you need to know. I manage my ankle problems with extensive foam rolling and mobility exercises, although it sounds like your problem isnt due to light muscles/ligaments, but more bone structural?