The role of ankle mobility on injury risk and performance has been previously described in our prior blog posts. These posts have described the correlation between a lack of mobility at the ankle and knee injuries including patellofemoral knee pain and ACL injury, as well as, ankle sprains and achilles tendonitis. A lack of ankle mobility has been shown to alter knee and hip biomechanics as well as reduce dynamic ankle stability. A new article reviews the utility of using squat testing as a screening for ankle mobility.
Rabin and colleagues put 53 healthy participants through weight bearing and non wearing ankle mobility measurements as well as squat testing (J Strength Conditioning Research. 2017). Athletes were screened with both an overhead and forward arm squat to determine their ability to detect a loss of ankle mobility in participants with limited mobility on ankle measurements. The authors reported high screening utility (sensitivity 1.0, negative likelihood ratio 0.0) for the overhead squat, but better diagnostic properties in the forward arm squat (specificity .84-.88, positive likelihood ratio 3.49-6.02). Screening athletes first with the overhead squat followed by the forward arm squat is an easy clinical method of assessing ankle mobility.