If your ankles do not have the same range of motion or strength – will that affect your body?
Maybe there is no pain – but if you do not move and stabilise the same on each side you will compensate at your knee or at your hip or at your lower back in order to produce the action. You will possibly not travel the hip through straight and will swing more on one side – this will create a shortening of muscles in one of your hip flexors. Which will then affect your performance in your sport – either the power of your stride at take off or in the stability at the landing, at any rate, the balance will be affected because of the asymmetry of the action.
Where does ankle stiffness or pain come from? Either it is mechanical, from stumbling on uneven ground and pulling a muscle – but if it is a niggle – generally it comes from a bad alignment up the chain. If the pelvis is not stable, or the hip is not supported by the gluteus muscles or the thigh rolls in and so collapsing the knee this will cause a twist at the lower calf and ankle and cause pain at the Achilles from the thigh and calf muscle being pulled. If one has two pencils end to end and a piece of cotton thread attached at the top of one and bottom of the other pencil, and then one twist one pencil – the cotton thread will shorten and break – this is what happens when we are not aligned right except it generally does not break – but pulls and causes pain.
Asymmetry will have an effect on all sports – in cycling – there will be a twist in the lower back as the foot is pushed into the downstroke from uneven ankle mobility
In running as the leg travels behind the body and then through – in the image below see “James” in the middle, his hip twists to his left and his shoulders to his right, and he is bending to the left at the waist, with an inward collapse of his knee – he is losing energy in the movement of his body. Merritt on the other hand is solid – his shoulders and hips are square. His limbs are powering him forwards.
Merritt may not be quicker – because he is heavier – but he will sustain less injury and have longevity in his sport through lack of discomfort.
In horse riding where one is “sitting” but one needs to be straight.
In sports where you are on a platform that moves, like a horse, boat or bike, and you see pictures of yourself crooked – it may not be due to your “tool” or your ability – it may be due to your internal/intrinsic biomechanics, in other words, your ability in your joints to move correctly. So get it checked out.
If you do have an issue with your ankle, such as you have rolled it on uneven ground, you can get many different supports to stabilise – here are a couple of very different ideas to the traditional heavy-duty bandages with stiffeners in them.