Starting Position

Flex the knee to relax the gastrocnemius and align the plantar surface of the foot perpendicular to the axis of the leg, this is your zero degree starting position.

Ending position

The ankle should be able to dorsiflex at least 20 degrees.

Clinical Significance

Most of ankle dorsiflexion range of motion is due to movement in the ankle joint itself, however, other joints in the foot contribute to this motion. Clinically, the total range of motion is more important than breaking the motion down into its constitutive parts.

Loss of ankle dorsiflexion may be due to contracture of either the soleus or gastrocnemius portion of the Achilles tendon complex, to decreased flexibility of the ankle syndesmosis, or to osteophytes and soft tissue damage anteriorly.

Measure ankle dorsiflexion with the leg fully extended to asses the tightness of the Achilles tendon complex. Markedly reduced dosiflexion upon leg extension may be due to contracture of the gastrocnemius portion of the Achilles complex.

Loss of motion may lead to hypermobility of the forefoot.

Figures

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