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Passive dorsiflexion

Positioning

The ankle is in neutral position with the heel resting on the couch. The knee is slightly flexed. The examiner is distal to the foot. He places one hand at the plantar aspect of the forefoot. The other hand is at the back of the heel.

Procedure

Move the foot in the dorsal direction, meanwhile keeping the knee in a slightly flexed position .

Common mistakes

None.

Normal functional anatomy:

1. Rallge: the angle between the dorsum of the foot and the tibia can be reduced to less than 90°

2. Elld-feel: hard ligamentous

3. U”,if;’1g structures:

  • the posterior capsule
  • posterior talofibular ligament
  • posterior fibres of the deltoid ligament
  • anterior engagement of talar neck and anterior margin of tibial surface.

Common pathological situations:

• Limitation of dorsiflexion is caused by articular lesions or by short calf muscles.
• Posterior pain indicates stretching of posterior structures (capsule or tendons of plantiflexors).
• Anterior pain is elicited when a pathological structure is painfully squeezed between tibia and talus (anterior periostitis or nipping of post-traumatic fibrosis).

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