Testing the Ankle Joint Range of Motion

When walking the range of motion available at the ankle joint is so important. Whenever we place the foot on the ground the body above needs to move ahead above that foot. This forward movement comes about at the ankle joint, so it should be apparent that there ought to be nothing which stops that forward motion at that joint. Problems such as arthritis within the ankle joint can affect that forward motion. Another common problem which could interfere with that forward motion are tight calf muscles. They stop the leg moving the required range of motion over the foot. In the event that movement is restricted than a number of compensations may occur. Firstly, walking is a lot more difficult. It is more tireing as more effort is needed to walk. Secondly, your body has to get that movement from somewhere. When it is unable to get that motion at the ankle, then it might get it at the knee and when that occurs we then walk with a more flexed knee which is actually a hard way to walk. If the body does not compensate at the knee, then it gets the movement at the midfoot. If that occurs then the arch of the foot collapses and that can bring about a variety of clinical conditions.

For these reasons, clinicians like to look at the flexibility at the lunge test as part of a biomechanical assessment. There are several methods for doing this. One of the ways is a non-weightbearing test with the foot and leg up in the air and the foot is just moved on the leg and the range of motion is assessed. Another, possibly better approach, is to do what is known as a ankle joint. This is a weightbearing way of measuring the ankle joint flexibility and in that position it is probably a better representation of the reality of the way that we move.