Injuries to the ankle are extremely common in sporting populations, with around 7% of fractures occurring around this joint in youth athletes. Reports suggest that decreased range of ankle movement may predispose to these ankle injuries. It has also been linked to lateral ankle sprain, ACL rupture, Achilles tendonitis/tendinopathy, shin splints etc. In the normal ankle, the range of dorsiflexion is 8 to 26 past the anatomical position, i.e. with the foot at right angles to the linear axis of the leg. During normal gait about 10 of dorsiflexion is needed during the stance phase of toe-off. Dorsiflexion of more than 10 is used when going downstairs, kneeling, and in many sports activities. For example, in athletes it is believed that a loaded range of dorsiflexion of 20 to 30 is necessary.
The video below shows Oxford United Women’s Football Club player Katja performing a weight-bearing lunge test to assess dorsiflexion. Normally, during this movement, the tibia moves forward over the foot as the tibial plafond glides anteriorly on the talar dome. However, when this accessory glide is limited the resulting decrease in ankle dorsiflexion prevents the ankle joint from achieving a close-packed position of bony stability, making it more vulnerable to inversion and internal rotation forces about the ankle increasing the risk of injury. Therefore, we use this assessment to assess movement in lower extremity and design a bespoke programme using the results from this screening in collaboration of other screenings. To book your Initial Consultation get in contact with us today.