Testing the Ankle to Prevent Reinjury

Written by Brandon Video

Outline of Dr. Butler's Research Talk

Dr. Butler discusses adding an additional clearing test to test the ankle joint, which isn’t cleared as fully in the FMS: the Ankle Clearing Test.

I. Why do we care?

A. Ankle sprains are one of the most common sports injuries.

B. Athletes return after pain and swelling subsides.

1. Despite return we still see a decreased Range of Motion (ROM), leading to 2nd sprains

2. Chronic instability, rather than trauma injuries

II. How do we check ROM at ankle joint?

A. First, determine what is normal

B. Studies show a mean ROM in the ankle joint of approx. 30.8°

1. Higher with flexed knee, a more functional position during athletic activity

2. Further research suggests 35°-40° as normal

III. Performing the clearing test

A. Set-up: 90/90 with the hip, making sure long axis of the tibia and long axis of the foot form 90°

1. Knee should move over the lateral axis of the foot

2. The movement stops when the heel comes up off the floor

B. Take the knee to the end point to note when heel comes up, then return to start point

C. Return the knee to the end point, making sure there is no heel separation.  Measure the angle with an inclinometer. 

IV. What in the FMS Model challenges ankle dorsiflexion?

A. Deep Squat

B. Hurdle Step

C. Inline Lunge

D. Lower Quarter Y-Balance Anterior Reach (SFMA)

V. The proposed ankle clearing test is not meant to trump the higher level patterns, but add to what is already in place.



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  • author

    Caleb 12/18/2014 7:11:07 PM

    I have made the mistake of coming back to early from an ankle injury. Within a couple of games I was right back where I started, in a boot. It is so important to go through extensive physical therapy and testing before trying to perform on your ankle again.