Ask the Expert: Avoiding Ankle Injuries in Lotus Pose

If your knees don’t touch the ground, your hips are not ready for lotus pose. Learn how to protect your ankles and prep for the pose.
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If your knees don’t touch the ground, your hips are not ready for lotus pose. Learn how to protect your ankles and prep for the pose.
lotus pose

Answers to your questions about health, nutrition, anatomy, and more.

My ankles hurt in Lotus Pose—is there a risk I could injure them?

If you can successfully get into 
Lotus Pose, you’re not likely to injure your ankles. But most people are not built to naturally drop into the pose because it requires very open hips. Check if your body is ready for Lotus by sitting cross-legged. If your knees don’t touch the ground, your hips are not ready. If your hips are open and you still have ankle pain in Lotus, try curling your toes back toward your knee, pressing the outer edge of the foot into your thigh to lift the outer ankle bone a little.

See also Q&A: How Do I Prep for Lotus Pose

Remember, pain is always a message, so if you’re hurting, get out of the pose. If you have sprained either ankle badly in the past, especially if you’ve done so more than once, there may be an underlying issue, such as a partially torn ligament. In that case, it’s worth getting checked out by a medical professional.

–Ariele Foster

Doctor of physical therapy and teacher of yoga and anatomy, Washington, DC

See also3 Natural Fixes for Aches and Pains and Ask the Expert: Foods for Achy Joints