What do we say about praying ankle to ankle?
You have two extremes in this issue:
Those that spread their legs far too wide which is far off!
And those whose rows aren’t straight, their feet are so close together and they are far away from the person next to them!
The row should be straight and all those aforementioned things are used to make sure the row is straight. There is no evidence to suggest that scholars outside the last generation said it should literally be ankle to ankle!
Ibn Uthaymeen’s (rh) speech on the joining of the ankles. It’s a view that just at the start of the prayer they can be joined to make the row straight but he elaborates:
As for joining the ankles to the ankles of the others, then no doubt this is reported from the Sahaabah, radhiyallahu ‘anhum, for they would straighten the rows by joining ankles, that is, every one of them would join his ankle with the ankle of his neighbour to ensure being line, and the straightness of the row. So it is not meant as an aim in itself, but rather as a means of achieving another aim, as some of the people of knowledge have mentioned. Therefore, when the rows are completed and the people are standing, it is befitting for every one of them to join his ankle to the ankle of his companion to ensure straightness. It does not mean that he should continue this joining and remain so for the whole salaah.
From the extremism that has occurred with regard to this issue is what is done by some people in that one of them will join his ankle to the ankle of his companion, and he will spread his feet so far apart until there is a gap between his shoulder and the shoulder of his companion, so he will oppose the Sunnah by doing that. But the aim is that the shoulders and ankles should be in line with each other.