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Restricted ankle dorsiflexion: methods to assess and improve joint function


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The presentation of compensatory movement strategies during a high load environment has been suggested as a potential risk factor for numerous lower extremity injuries. Deficiencies in ankle dorsiflexion range of motion may restrict movement pathways, potentially causing proximal compensation and, in turn,excessive stress to active and passive tissues. This article will discuss evidence surrounding the influence of a hypomobile ankle joint on lower extremity function, as well as methods to assess and improve ankle mechanics and subsequent movement patterns.
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ISSUE 37 / JUNE 2015
During high load sporting situations,
excessive motion at the hip joint in
the frontal and transverse plane
may compromise the integrity of
various structures within the lower
extremity.15,21,27,55,61 The ability of the
neuromuscular system to prevent these
motions from occurring is crucial in
avoiding injury. When compensatory
movement strategies (CMS) within the
lower extremity are present, changes in
normal hip muscle recruitment patterns
have been observed. Reductions in gluteal
muscle strength,32 activation11,25,31,56,72
and delayed onset of activation10 are all
associated with poor dynamic alignment
during functional activities. This
occurrence has led to localised exercise-
based interventions being suggested in
order to correct dysfunctions.57
However, recent research indicates that
CMS may not be exclusively attributed
to local motor control deficiencies.
Fundamentally, reduced function within
stabilising muscles around the hip may
be caused by an underlying deficiency in
mobility elsewhere in the lower extremity.
Limited ankle dorsiflexion range of
motion (ROM) has been shown to impede
normal movement pathways, therefore
necessitating various CMS to allow for the
completion of functional activities.41,43,53
It is, therefore, the aim of this article
to describe ankle function, and the
influences it possess on knee and hip
mechanics. This discussion will provide
coaches with an understanding for the
synergistic relationship between the ankle
and proximal joint segments. Tools for
assessing ankle dorsiflexion ROM will be
discussed. Finally, the CMS derived from
ankle hypomobility will be presented,
alongside methods to enhance lower
extremity function.
Restricted ankle
dorsiflexion: methods
to assess and improve
joint function
The presentation of compensatory movement strategies during a high load
environment has been suggested as a potential risk factor for numerous lower
extremity injuries. Deficiencies in ankle dorsiflexion range of motion may restrict
movement pathways, potentially causing proximal compensation and, in turn,
excessive stress to active and passive tissues. This article will discuss evidence
surrounding the influence of a hypomobile ankle joint on lower extremity function,
as well as methods to assess and improve ankle mechanics and subsequent
movement patterns.
By Louis Howe, MSc, BSc (Hons), ASCC
Louis has been coaching elite
level athletes for over seven
years, previously working
for one of London’s top
universities. He is currently
a lecturer in strength and
conditioning at St Mary’s
University, London, teaching
on the undergraduate
programme. Alongside this
role, Louis provides strength
and conditioning services
to a group of international
track and field athletes.
Academically, Louis recently
completed his MSc in sports
Compensatory movement strategies
Locally, a lack of ankle dorsiflexion ROM
presents as a risk factor for common sports
injuries such as achilles tendinopathy, ankle
sprains, and tibial stress fractures.54 Research
also indicates an association with proximal
injuries such as hamstring strains,17 patella
tendinopathy,2 anterior knee pain45 and
anterior cruciate ligament injury.70 Although
the exact relationship between a loss of ankle
dorsiflexion ROM and injury occurrence
is unclear, theoretical models have been
proposed based on the development of CMS
caused by ankle hypomobility.
During normal weight-bearing activities,
pronation of the lower extremity is
required for the dissipation of forces
during closed chain movements. Calcaneal
eversion initiates pronation, causing the
talus to plantar flex and adduct.63,65,66 As a
consequence, the tibia and subsequently
the femur are guided into internal rotation,63
encouraging gluteal activation.56 This tri-
planar kinematic sequence is functionally
essential in order to load the neuromuscular
system in preparation for propulsion.
When an athlete lacks sufficient ankle
dorsiflexion, excessive pronation of the
foot complex may be necessary in order to
compensate. This strategy causes a reduced
structural congruency of the talonavicular
and calcaneocuboid joints (composing the
midtarsal joint), facilitating compensatory
dorsiflexion at the midfoot and permitting
the tibia to continue its forward
trajectory.63,65,66 This is visually demonstrated
as a collapse of the medial longitudinal
arch. A strong contraction of the gluteals
in this instance would be inhibited to allow
for the femur and consequently the tibia to
internally rotate, encouraging the knee joint
to displace medially relative to the fixed foot.
This CMS permits sagittal plane motion to
take place around the oblique axis of the
midtarsal joint.64 Research has supported
this theoretical model in subjects with ankle
dorsiflexion restriction, demonstrating
increased knee valgus angles secondary to
poor proximal control.43,53
Where a pronation strategy is not adopted,
athletes who lack ankle dorsiflexion will not
be able to achieve acceptable knee flexion
angles during closed chain activities. If the
constraints of the movement task allow, this
may cause an increased hinge at the hip
joint producing a forward lean of the trunk.
When performing movements in a high load
environment, the spine will be compelled to
withstand excessive lumbar forces.60 During
a landing task, the same CMS may present
as an aggressive jarring strategy with
reduced knee flexion angles during force
acceptance.16 In this instance, the knee joint
will display a quadriceps dominant CMS,
associated with anterior cruciate ligament
Potential limitations to ankle
During level-ground gait, 10-20° of ankle
dorsiflexion is a prerequisite for ideal
mechanics within the lower extremity.51
This requirement increases during running,
with up to 30° being desirable.51 During full
ROM squatting, normative data for ankle
dorsiflexion has not yet been established.38
However, Hemmerich et al27 found
dorsiflexion angles of 39 ± 6° were required
to maintain the foot complex against a
flat surface. It is therefore likely that many
athletes must possess approximately 40°
of ankle dorsiflexion ROM during weight-
bearing tasks in order to optimally complete
the necessary movement patterns of their
Muscles located posteriorly to the talocrural
joint axis of rotation act either as a primary
or secondary plantar flexor.50 Therefore,
reduced extensibility of the gastrocnemius
and soleus complex may present as the main
culprit in preventing ankle dorsiflexion
ROM.22 However, the gastrocnemius and
soleus muscles differ in their articular
characterisation. As such, the biarticular
gastrocnemius muscle is a knee flexor and
ankle plantar flexor.50 During activities
demanding concomitant ankle dorsiflexion
and knee flexion (ie, squatting), the
gastrocnemius insertion is elongated distally
while the origin is shortened proximally. This
scenario leads to limited change in length,60
rendering the gastrocnemius incapable of
limiting ankle dorsiflexion ROM during
movements requiring simultaneous knee
flexion. This evidence highlights the soleus
muscle as the primary limiting factor to
ankle dorsiflexion ROM during movement
patterns involving knee flexion.
Limited ankle dorsiflexion may also result
from a lack of arthrokinematic motion at
the talocrural joint.13 For the ankle joint to
dorsiflex, the talus must glide in a posterior
direction relative to the mortise to avoid
impinging anteriorly.39 Posterior glide of
the talus has been shown to be limited in
individuals with an anterior positional fault of
the talus, secondary to a history of injury at the
ankle joint.70 This positional fault is produced
‘This evidence
highlights the
soleus muscle
as the primary
limiting factor
to ankle
ROM during
involving knee
by the excessive anteriorly capsular laxity
caused by the plantar flexion mechanism
associated with a lateral ankle ligament
injury.49 Although much of the research
identifying altered ankle arthrokinematics
has used previously injured athletes, joint
mobilisations have been suggested for any
individual demonstrating a hypomobile
ankle joint.39 As such, interventions aimed
at improving accessory ankle joint motion
in asymptomatic populations have shown
immediate increases in ankle dorsiflexion
Methods to assess ankle dorsiflexion
range of motion
When assessing ankle dorsiflexion ROM in
an isolated fashion, both weight-bearing4
and non-weight-bearing62 techniques are
available to coaches. However, Whitting et
al69 established a poor correlation between
weight-bearing and non-weight-bearing
tests (r2=0.18), with non-weight-bearing
tests underestimating functional capacity.
The authors suggest the two assessments
may describe separate aspects of ankle
dorsiflexion mobility; non-weight-bearing
tests representing passive stiffness and
weight-bearing tests indicating contractile
and non-contractile tissue extensibility.69
Therefore, when correlating ankle
dorsiflexion ROM with functional activities
involving active stabilising strategies, a
weight-bearing test is recommended over
its passive equivalent.69
One method that has been suggested is
the weight-bearing lunge test (WBLT)
(Figure 1).4,27,34,37,52 When investigating the
WBLT, Bennell et al4 reported a standard
error of measurement of 0.4 centimetres
(cm), with a strong inter-tester and
intersession reliability, and intra-class
correlation coefficients of 0.97-0.99.
Relationships have been established
between ankle dorsiflexion ROM during
the WBLT, and the performance of both a
unilateral29 and bilateral14 squat variation,
demonstrating its practical relevance. Due
to anthropometric differences it is unlikely
that a gold standard exists; however, scores
of 9.5–14 cm have been recorded in healthy
As previously discussed, with movement
tasks demanding a flexed knee it is
unlikely that the biarticular gastrocnemius
muscle provides a limitation to ankle
dorsiflexion ROM. As such, gastrocnemius
extensibility is not measured during the
WBLT. A modified version of the WBLT
may accurately assess the gastrocnemius’
contribution to restricted ankle dorsiflexion
ROM, if deemed necessary (see Figure 2). To
the author’s knowledge, this assessment has
not been validated within the literature, and
Figure 1. (left image)
The weight-bearing lunge test.
Athletes stand facing a bare wall,
with the tested foot positioned
closest to the wall. The second
toe, centre of the calcaneus
and centre of the patella are
all aligned perpendicular to
the wall and remain within this
plane throughout the test. The
subject places their non-testing
leg behind them so as not to
obscure results, with the hands
located on the wall ahead. The
athlete lunges forward until the
front knee contacts the wall.
The heel must remain in contact
with the floor throughout. Upon
successful completion, athletes
are repositioned 1cm further away
from the wall.
A measurement is taken from the
greater toe to the wall from the
last successful effort
Figure 1. (right image)
The modified weight-bearing
lunge test. The modified WBLT
is performed using the same
setup as the WBLT. However,
for gastrocnemius extensibility
to be measured, the modified
WBLT uses the back leg for
assessment. The athlete assumes
the lunge position, with the
front foot against the wall so as
to prevent obscuring results. It
is recommended that to start,
the testing leg is placed one
foot and a half length away
from the wall. The testing leg
is positioned so that the heel
makes contact with the ground,
and the knee is extended. The
athlete then attempts to lunge
forward until the front knee
makes contact with the wall. Upon
successful completion, the athlete
repositions the back leg 1cm
further away from the wall. This is
continued until they can no longer
attain a touch with the knee of the
front leg. From the last successful
effort a measurement is taken
from the greater toe of the back
leg, to the wall
ISSUE 37 / JUNE 2015
therefore is proposed only from a theoretical
basis. It should be noted, if looking to identify
limited ankle dorsiflexion as cause for the
CMS previously discussed in this article, the
modified WBLT may be inappropriate and
therefore coaches should employ the WBLT.
The preferred movement strategy during
functional tasks should also be considered
by coaches conducting screens. It is possible
that in an isolated assessment such as the
WBLT, sufficient ankle dorsiflexion may be
present. Yet during integrated movement
patterns (ie, squatting variations), this
ROM may not be used as the primary
strategy. Athletes may instead choose to
initiate movement with a CMS, such as the
pronation strategy previously discussed, in
order to gain added stability via overactive
global mobilisers and passive structures.
In this case, a mobility intervention would
not prove successful. Instead, exercises that
provide a neuromuscular education process
may achieve a more desirable outcome as the
athlete learns to control ankle dorsiflexion
motion whilst minimising CMS.
In order to make this distinction, a
dynamic assessment that requires full
ankle dorsiflexion should be employed. By
including tests such as the Star Excursion
Balance Test (SEBT) with an anterior
reach,29 CMS may be identified in athletes
possessing limited ankle dorsiflexion
ROM. In theory, the distance the knee can
travel over the greater toe during the WBLT
should be replicated during the SEBT with
an anterior reach. By employing both a
WBLT, providing four points of stability, and
the SEBT, offering just one point of stability,
coaches can distinguish between a true
restriction within the ankle complex and
the inability to control the available ROM
during single-leg activities.
Lastly, as motor control strategies for low
and high load situations are modulated
by separate higher processes within the
central nervous system,30 it is suggested
that both low and high load assessments be
incorporated.47 This may allow for coaches
to identify stabilisation discrepancies
in either environment, leading to more
effective programme design. If only low
load assessments are used (ie, SEBT with
an anterior reach), coaches will not gain
an appreciation of how an athlete chooses
to cope during a high load environment
(ie, landing from a hop) on the restricted
leg. Without the identification of high load
CMS, the re-training process may prove
unsuccessful for many athletes.
Figure 3. Example of
static stretch position for
gastrocnemius (left image) and
soleus (right image) muscles
Methods to increase ankle dorsiflexion
range of motion
Once a thorough assessment has been
completed and the tissue responsible for
causing the restriction has been identified,
coaches must select the appropriate tool in
order to correct the deficiency. If myofascial
restrictions are detected on assessment,
techniques such as proprioceptive
neuromuscular facilitation59 and static
stretching18,19,33,58,71 have all shown positive
results in increasing ankle dorsiflexion
ROM. Depending on the findings within
the assessment, either a straight or bent-
knee position may be used in order to target
the gastrocnemius or soleus respectively
(Figure 3).
Similarly, self-massage may also be employed
to increase ankle dorsiflexion ROM. Using
the technique demonstrated in Figure 4,
Halperin et al24 identified similar gains in
ankle dorsiflexion ROM when compared to
a static stretching intervention. Interestingly,
differences were found in the force
production capacity of the plantar flexors,
with only static stretching demonstrating
short-term reductions in force development.24
These results indicate that if acute increases
in ankle dorsiflexion are targeted prior
to training or competition, self-massage
is a more attractive modality to prevent
compromising performance qualities.
For subjects who lack the vital posterior
glide of the talus during ankle dorsiflexion,
mobilisation techniques suggested by
Mulligan48 have been shown to correct
pathomechanics, leading to immediate
increases in ankle dorsiflexion ROM.5
Although much of the literature on
mobilisations has used injured athletes,5,12,20
Vicenzino et al67 and Guo et al23 both
demonstrated statistically significant
increases in ankle dorsiflexion ROM
in healthy subjects. Changes following
mobilisations aimed at improving the
athrokinematics of the joint may go beyond
correcting positional faults. Maitland42
suggests modifications in sensorimotor
function may also occur, with stimulation
of mechanoreceptors located in the joint
capsule and ligamentous tissue. This
excitation is proposed to increase afferent
information being transmitted to the
medulla leading to central adaptations.42
Köhne et al36 supported this suggestion,
establishing enhanced proprioception
following mobilisations.
Although hands-on manual therapy
techniques are beyond the practice of
the S&C coach, self-mobilisations when
prescribed appropriately have been
recommended.9 Mobilisations are classified
by grades I to IV depending on their
treatment movements (Table 1). Cosby and
Grindstaff9 suggest self-mobilisations be
completed to an equivalent grade III or IV
Recently, prescribing joint self-mobilisation
has grown in popularity within the strength
and conditioning community. Coaches
should note that not all individuals are
candidates for joint mobilisation. Table 2
(on next page) provides an exclusion
criterion. It is imperative that coaches are
fully aware of their athlete’s circumstances
before advocating joint self-mobilisations.
The authors of this article recommend that
all athletes should be screened by a medical
practitioner prior to joint mobilisation
In some cases, self-mobilisations may prove
ineffective for athletes with myofascial
restrictions limiting ankle dorsiflexion.
Myofascial and articular restrictions may be
differentiated by the sensations an athlete
experiences during the WBLT.22 If tightness
is felt along the posterior surface of the lower
Table 1: Classification system for mobilisations techniques1
I Small-amplitude performed at the beginning of the ROM
II Large-amplitude performed within the mid-ROM
III Large-amplitude performed up to the limit of the ROM
IV Small-amplitude performed at the very end of the ROM
Figure 4. Example of self-
massage technique for the
gastroc-soleus complex. Athletes
assume a seated position on a
chair, with one knee flexed to
90° and the ankle slightly plantar
flexed using a heel support.
Flexing forward, the athlete
massages the myofascial tissue
using a roller massager. Halperin
et al24 showed positive results
using a cadence of one second to
roll the length of the calf, for 30
seconds for three sets. Intensity
was maintained at 7/10 using the
rate of perceived pain24
leg, it is likely that the soleus complex is the
culprit. Conversely if the athlete describes
a pinching at the anterior aspect of the
talocrural joint associated with an anterior
impingement, then self-mobilisations are
Figure 5 demonstrates a number of
self-mobilisations to improve the
arthrokinematics of the ankle joint. It is
likely that an athlete’s response will vary
depending on each mobilisation, and
therefore it is recommended that an athlete
practise numerous techniques in order to
determine which one achieves the best
results. As with all techniques aimed at
improving joint mobility, it is important
to record quantitative changes. Strength
and conditioning coaches should be sure
to test pre and post-intervention. This will
help determine which method achieves the
greatest increase in ankle dorsiflexion ROM.
Reducing compensatory movement
It is beyond the scope of this article to
present all principles that provide the
foundation for designing and implementing
a neuromuscular re-education programme
leading to the reduction in CMS. However,
in this section certain components of a
neuromuscular re-education programme
will be highlighted. For further information,
readers are referred to texts by Comerford
and Mottram,7 Cook et al,8 and McGill.43
Until ankle mobility has been achieved,
CMS identified during a screening process
are likely to remain. Any CMS driven
from a loss of ankle dorsiflexion is in
actuality a functional response, allowing
for the completion of athletic activities.8
Therefore, attempts to remove CMS without
an intervention to improve mobility will
Table 2: Exclusion criteria. Individuals who possess any of the following
characteristics or pathologies should not be prescribed self-mobilisations1
Acute inflammation
Advanced osteoarthritis
Premature stressing of surgical structures
Congenital bone deformities
Rheumatoid arthritis
Confirmed or suspected bone fractures
Neurological or vascular signs
Figure 5. Examples of self-
mobilisations aimed at improving
ankle dorsiflexion ROM. Athletes
should assume a similar setup to
the WBLT, using support where
necessary to maximise stability.
Two techniques may be employed
in order to facilitate posterior
glide of the talus relative to the
ankle mortise. Both techniques
require either a band, or a strap
secured against a fixed pole.
Firstly, with a band positioned
over the anterior aspect of the
ankle joint, an anteroposterior
glide can be achieved on the talus
relative to the distal tibia and
fibula (top left). This mobilisation
can be enhanced by slightly
elevating the heel, preventing the
band from slipping superiorly
off of the talus (bottom left).
Alternatively, with a band placed
around the posterior surface of
the distal leg, a posteroanterior
glide to the tibia and fibula
assists the tibia and fibula to
move anteriorly on a fixed talus
(top right). In order to prevent
compensatory dorsiflexion from
the midtarsal joints, the calcaneus
can be inverted by slightly
elevating the medial aspect of
the heel and the first metatarsal
(bottom right). With either
technique, athletes are suggested
to move in and out of end range
using the equivalent of either
a grade III or IV mobilisation,
remaining pain-free throughout.9
Cosby et al9 recommends 2–3
sets of 30–60 seconds using slow
inevitably fail. Conversely, gains in mobility
do not automatically lead to reductions in
CMS.46 As increases in mobility are achieved,
efforts should be made to integrate the new
ROM into functional activities. Therefore,
interventions aimed at improving ankle
mobility and reducing CMS should follow
a concurrent model with all qualities being
developed simultaneously. This approach
has been shown to reduce CMS in as little
as two weeks.3
As the athlete acquires sufficient ankle
dorsiflexion ROM, less time should be spent
using mobility techniques. Stabilisation
training should now be the main focus,
with athletes learning to control the
additional ankle mobility dynamically
while minimising unnecessary CMS
throughout the lower extremity. The goal is
to re-integrate mobility gains into numerous
lower extremity movement patterns,
preventing the CMS identified during
the screening process. When a particular
CMS has been identified, athletes should
be challenged to resist the dysfunctional
motion, while utilising an ankle dorsiflexion
movement strategy. Figure 6 provides an
example exercise for this strategy.
In order to avoid excessive co-contraction
patterns inhibiting full ROM, exercises
aimed at improving movement pathways
should start in a stable environment and
progress through gradual reductions in
stability. A simple example of this would be
to start with bilateral squats, progressing
to unilateral variations. In deciding when
to progress, coaches should repeatedly
observe similar ankle dorsiflexion angles,
to what is demonstrated during the WBLT
(representing functional capacity). This will
indicate that the athlete is able to control
their available ROM.
It is important to note that at no point during
the re-training process should strength
qualities be ignored. In order to safely
perform within a high load environment, it
is imperative that an athlete is sufficiently
prepared to cope with the high force profiles
associated with various athletic movements.
Compensatory movement strategies are not
exclusively caused by mobility restrictions,
and may present during high load
movement tasks when an athlete is unable
to control the accompanying joint moments.
It is therefore recommended that coaches
maintain all necessary training methods
throughout a neuromuscular re-education
programme, as long as problematic CMS
are not present and do not interfere with the
re-training process.
It was the objective of this article to present
the influence that ankle dorsiflexion exerts
on proximal joint segments. Increased
pronation of the foot complex or excessive
flexion at the hip and trunk may occur as a
result of ankle hypomobility, depending on
the constraints of the movement task. In
each case, a rise in injury risk to numerous
active and passive tissues throughout the
lower extremity may occur.
When assessing ankle dorsiflexion ROM,
weight-bearing assessments provide
coaches with greater understanding
regarding the capacity for active and
passive components to restrict ROM.
Alongside the WBLT, it is recommended
that coaches attempt to identify an athlete’s
preferred movement strategy during an
integrated movement task demanding
high levels of ankle dorsiflexion ROM.
Mobility and exercise-based interventions
may then be designed based on the results
of these assessments. For simultaneous
improvements in ankle ROM and reductions
in associated CMS, a concurrent approach
should be employed, to remove myofascial
or articular restrictions, facilitate stabilising
capacity, and improve all essential strength
qualities in order to tolerate high load
Figure 6. Weight-bearing lunge
with foot elevation. This exercise
uses Reactive Neuromuscular
Training8 in order to educate the
athlete to preferentially adopt an
ankle dorsiflexion strategy as an
alternative for a pronation strategy.
The band provides a moderate knee
valgus moment. The anti-pronators
are in turn stimulated in order to
overcome this moment, while full
ankle dorsiflexion ROM is produced.
This technique may also be used in
more complex movement tasks
assessing ankle
ROM, weight-
provide coaches
with greater
the capacity
for active
and passive
components to
restrict ROM’
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... Methods to improve ankle dorsiflexion ROM can be divided into 2 main categories; myofascial or joint mobility restrictions (23). Myofascial restrictions involve limitations in the extensibility of the muscles that surround the ankle joint and their related fascial On successful completion, the athlete repositions their test leg 1 cm further away from the wall. ...
... In support of this recommendation, Jeon et al. (25) showed that a self-stretching technique using a strap positioned to improve the posterior glide of the talus while concurrently stretching the plantar flexor musculature significantly increased dorsiflexion ROM after a 3-week intervention. Although arthrokinematic changes after the intervention were not measured, differences in ROM during the When determining which technique to use, practitioners are advised to use a practical approach to select an appropriate intervention (23). By performing the WBLT, then an intervention, followed by the WBLT, S&C professionals will be able to determine whether a myofascial or joint mobilitybased intervention is most appropriate for increasing ankle dorsiflexion ROM. ...
... dorsiflexion ROM may be available for the athlete to complete the desired movement task. In this instance, a motor control dysfunction is likely present that inhibits the athlete from using their available ankle dorsiflexion ROM (23). For this athlete, an intervention aimed at increasing ankle ROM will likely provide negligible changes to their squat pattern, as a mobility restriction is not the primary driver for their compensatory strategies. ...
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Limitations in ankle dorsiflexion range of motion have been shown to increase compensatory movements at both proximal and distal joint segments in the lower extremity. This article discusses methods to assess and correct deficiencies in ankle dorsiflexion range of motion. Previously, however, the removal of joint restrictions has not been shown to reduce compensatory strategies developed through such restrictions. Therefore, this article will also discuss important considerations for facilitating the relearning process and propose key principles for developing a corrective program.
... From the most recent successful effort, a measurement is obtained from the larger toe to the wall [15]. ...
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Introduction: Plantar fasciitis occurs with the deterioration of the plantar fascia and related surrounding tissues around the heel's medial calcaneal tuberosity. This illness usually causes tightness in the calf muscles. These tight muscles are thought to interfere with the normal biomechanics of ambulation. The invention of percussion massage guns intends to improve the usefulness and efficiency of self-myofascial release, following in the footsteps of vibrating foam rollers. Since there is limited research on muscle gun devices, despite their growing popularity, this study will look into their effects on range of motion, essential physiological or biomechanical factors that contribute to the disease, and their capacity to reduce muscular tightness. Methodology: Subjects with Plantar Fasciitis (n = 48) will be recruited for a single-blind RCT. Participants will be assigned randomly to the experimental or control groups with a one-to-one allocation ratio. Participants in Group A will receive treatment via Theragun, Hot/cold immersion therapy, and a home exercise regimen during a one-week period immediately following baseline evaluations and randomization. Participants in GROUP B would only be subjected to Calf Stretching, a Contrast Bath, and a home exercise regimen. For a week, the calf muscles were treated for 5 minutes every day (7 sessions in all). As 1 week is completed, the efficacy of the approach for both groups is assessed using ankle flexibility tests, VAS, universal goniometers, Active Manual muscle testing, and the (PFPS) as outcome measures. Discussion: The purpose of this study is to compare the benefits of the Hypervolt device vs calf stretching in individuals with plantar fasciitis. The outcomes of the study, which may include a newly designed rehabilitation technique, may assist patients experiencing Plantar +-Fasciitis. Conclusion: Conclusion will be drawn based on the effect of both the techniques on Pain, Range of Motion, Muscle Strength, and Functional Outcomes in Patients with Plantar Fasciitis.
The ability to dissipate force across multiple joint segments, as well as through large contact surface areas within a joint, minimises stress imposed on a specific tissue. Such movement efficiency is accomplished through the sequencing of numerous subsystems within the body. In instances where poor movement patterns exist, additional strength development may be problematic as higher forces are unlikely to be tolerated effectively. Poor alignment during basic movement patterns also places joints in a poor mechanical position, dampening the force output. Optimal neuromuscular efficiency requires the integration of all systems within the human body. In assessing movement, it is therefore crucial to determine the underlying causes of dysfunction so that appropriate correction strategies can be applied. The aim of this article is to describe a systematic process used to screen an athlete with a predetermined movement deficiency which was limiting his sporting performance.
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Context: Ankle-dorsiflexion (DF) range of motion (ROM) may influence movement variables that are known to affect anterior cruciate ligament loading, such as knee valgus and knee flexion. To our knowledge, researchers have not studied individuals with limited or normal ankle DF-ROM to investigate the relationship between those factors and the lower extremity movement patterns associated with anterior cruciate ligament injury. Objective: To determine, using 2 different measurement techniques, whether knee- and ankle-joint kinematics differ between participants with limited and normal ankle DF-ROM. Design: Cross-sectional study. Setting: Sports medicine research laboratory. Patients or other participants: Forty physically active adults (20 with limited ankle DF-ROM, 20 with normal ankle DF-ROM). Main outcome measure(s): Ankle DF-ROM was assessed using 2 techniques: (1) nonweight-bearing ankle DF-ROM with the knee straight, and (2) weight-bearing lunge (WBL). Knee flexion, knee valgus-varus, knee internal-external rotation, and ankle DF displacements were assessed during the overhead-squat, single-legged squat, and jump-landing tasks. Separate 1-way analyses of variance were performed to determine whether differences in knee- and ankle-joint kinematics existed between the normal and limited groups for each assessment. Results: We observed no differences between the normal and limited groups when classifying groups based on nonweight-bearing passive-ankle DF-ROM. However, individuals with greater ankle DF-ROM during the WBL displayed greater knee-flexion and ankle-DF displacement and peak knee flexion during the overhead-squat and single-legged squat tasks. In addition, those individuals also demonstrated greater knee-varus displacement during the single-legged squat. Conclusions: Greater ankle DF-ROM assessed during the WBL was associated with greater knee-flexion and ankle-DF displacement during both squatting tasks as well as greater knee-varus displacement during the single-legged squat. Assessment of ankle DF-ROM using the WBL provided important insight into compensatory movement patterns during squatting, whereas nonweight-bearing passive ankle DF-ROM did not. Improving ankle DF-ROM during the WBL may be an important intervention for altering high-risk movement patterns commonly associated with noncontact anterior cruciate ligament injury.
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Purpose The aim was to study whether the degree of ankle dorsiflexion differs between subjects with an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury and uninjured controls. Another aim was to study ankle dorsiflexion between the injured and the uninjured leg and in addition between women and men with an ACL injury. Method Sixty subjects (ACL injury, n = 30 and controls, n = 30) were enroled consecutively at two physical therapy settings. Ankle dorsiflexion was measured with a goniometer in a standardized way in a weight-bearing lunge position. Results Repeated-measures ANOVA revealed a significant difference (p < 0.001) in ankle dorsiflexion between subjects with an ACL injury (mean 41.1° SD 5.7) and those without (mean 46.6° SD 5.3). No difference in ankle dorsiflexion was found between the injured leg and the uninjured or between women and men with ACL injury. Conclusion The present findings suggest lower degree of ankle dorsiflexion in subjects with an ACL injury than in uninjured controls. A functional test measuring ankle dorsiflexion with a goniometer may be one way of identifying individuals at increased risk of ACL injury. Level of evidence Comparative study, Level II.
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Limited dorsiflexion range of motion (ROM) has been linked to lower limb injuries. Improving limited ankle ROM may decrease injury rates. Static stretching (SS) is ubiquitously used to improve ROM but can lead to decreases in force and power if performed prior to the activity. Thus, alternatives to improve ROM without performance decrements are needed. To compare the effects of SS and self massage (SM) with a roller massage of the calf muscles on ankle ROM, maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) force F100 (force produced in the first 100 ms of the MVC), electromyography (EMG of soleus and tibialis anterior) characteristics of the plantar flexors, and a single limb balance test. Fourteen recreationally trained subjects were tested on two separate occasions in a randomized cross-over design. After a warm up, subjects were assessed for passive dorsiflexion ROM, MVC, and a single-limb balance test with eyes closed. The same three measurements were repeated after 10 minutes (min) of rest and prior to the interventions. Following the pre-test, participants randomly performed either SS or SM for 3 sets of 30 seconds (s) with 10s of rest between each set. At one and 10 min post-interventions the participants repeated the three measurements, for a third and fourth cycle of testing. Roller massage increased and SS decreased maximal force output during the post-test measurements, with a significant difference occurring between the two interventions at 10 min post-test (p < 0.05, ES = 1.23, 8.2% difference). Both roller massage (p < 0.05, ES = 0.26, ~4%) and SS (p < 0.05, ES = 0.27, ~5.2%) increased ROM immediately and 10 min after the interventions. No significant effects were found for balance or EMG measures. Both interventions improved ankle ROM, but only the self-massage with a roller massager led to small improvements in MVC force relative to SS at 10 min post-intervention. These results highlight the effectiveness of a roller massager relative to SS. These results could affect the type of warm-up prior to activities that depend on high force and sufficient ankle ROM. 2c.
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Ankle joint equinus, or restricted dorsiflexion range of motion (ROM), has been linked to a range of pathologies of relevance to clinical practitioners. This systematic review and meta-analysis investigated the effects of conservative interventions on ankle joint ROM in healthy individuals and athletic populations. Keyword searches of Embase Medline Cochrane and CINAHL databases were performed with the final search being run in August 2013. Studies were eligible for inclusion if they assessed the effect of a non-surgical intervention on ankle joint dorsiflexion in healthy populations. Studies were quality rated using a standard quality assessment scale. Standardised mean differences (SMDs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated and results were pooled where study methods were homogenous. Twenty-three studies met eligibility criteria, with a total of 734 study participants. Results suggest that there is some evidence to support the efficacy of static stretching alone (SMDs: range 0.70 to 1.69) and static stretching in combination with ultrasound (SMDs: range 0.91 to 0.95), diathermy (SMD 1.12), diathermy and ice (SMD 1.16), heel raise exercises (SMDs: range 0.70 to 0.77), superficial moist heat (SMDs: range 0.65 to 0.84) and warm up (SMD 0.87) in improving ankle joint dorsiflexion ROM. Some evidence exists to support the efficacy of stretching alone and stretching in combination with other therapies in increasing ankle joint ROM in healthy individuals. There is a paucity of quality evidence to support the efficacy of other non-surgical interventions, thus further research in this area is warranted.
Measurements of maximum ankle dorsiflexion (MAD) are frequently performed in clinical practice, yet no single technique has gained universal acceptance. The purpose of this study was to determine whether a significant difference exists in passive MAD measurement with the subtalar joint in a neutral vs a pronated position. The 18 healthy females who participated in this study had their left ankles passively dorsiflexed with maximum force twice under the two conditions (neutral or pronated). The measurements were obtained from projections of 35 mm slides taken of each trial. A comparison of the mean MAD measurements for trials and condition was performed using a two-way repeated measures analysis of variance. There was no significant difference in the two trials in the neutral position or the two trials in the pronated position. There was, however, a significant difference between the neutral position and the pronated position.
This text integrates basic medical concepts and related scientific information to provide a strong foundation of general athletic training practices. Using a problem-solving approach to prevention, recognition, assessment, management, and disposition of sports-related injuries and diseases, this text provides athletic trainers and athletic training students with the most extensive, challenging content in a user-friendly format. This edition features a full-color art program and more extensive injury photographs. Anatomy line art superimposed onto a real human helps students visualize the location of key muscles, nerves, and blood vessels.