STARmat: Ankle Dorsi-flexion (DF) ROM

Reference:All refernces are in the STARmat Manual & DVD

Evaluation and optimizing ankle dorsi-flexion (DF) is essential in rehab as loss of ankle DF-ROM has been associated with ankle fractures (Agosta and Morarty, 1999), tendonopathies (Kaufman et al. 1999) and sprains (Collins et al. 2004).

Compared to non-weight bearing goniometric measurements, the weight-bearing ankle DF-ROM test has been shown to be not only more functional but also more reliable (Jones et al. 2005).

The weight-bearing DF lunge method is a quick, easy and reliable measure of ankle DF that has been shown to have excellent inter and intra-rater reliability (Bennell et al. 1998, Jones et al. 2005).

The mean ankle DF-ROM among an asymptomatic population was shown to be 9cm with a range of 4 to 14cm (O’Shea & Grafton 2012).

Ankle DF-ROM Evaluation using the STARmat

With the left foot facing directly forward, the patient places the left big toe at the 40cm mark on the North line. The right foot is positioned behind the left foot wherever comfortable.

The STARpole is positioned at the 47cm mark on the North line, which is 7cm away from the big toe. If the patient is able to successfully make the knee contact the STARpole without lifting the heel, the pole is taken back 1-3cm.

The furthest distance reached with the knee without the heel coming off the floor is the outcome. An asymmetry / loss of 2cm on the effected side may be considered clinically significant.

The test is repeated on the other side and an asymmetry of 2cm may be considered clinically significant.

Clinical Scenario: A 17 year old patient 6 weeks post right ankle inversion injury would like to return to soccer, but continues to have anterior ankle pain. He presents with

Ankle DF ROM
Left: 12cm
Right: 8cm

A goal is set to have his right ankle DF measure 12cm and be symmetrical with the asymptomatic side, which may help reduce his ankle symptoms during soccer.

Posted on: May 05, 2013

Categories: Foot & Ankle , Relevant Physical Therapy Articles

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