The aims of this study were 1) to compare weightbearing and nonweightbearing ankle dorsiflexion measurements and 2) to examine the correlation between the two measurements.
Forty-three healthy individuals (29 women) were recruited from the campus of Ariel University Center in Ariel, Israel.
Individuals recruited for this study also participated in another investigation that assessed lower extremity quality of movement during a step-down maneuver.
Data were collected on each participant by two examiners to establish the inter-rater reliability of the weightbearing and nonweightbearing measurements.
All of the testing was performed on the dominant limb of each participant, defined as the limb used to kick a ball.
Ankle dorsiflexion in weightbearing was measured with a fluid-filled inclinometer with 1 degree increments.
Passive nonweightbearing ankle dorsiflexion was measured with a universal goniometer with 1 degree increments.
Ankle dorsiflexion range of motion as measured in weightbearing was found to produce significantly different results compared with the range measured in nonweightbearing.
Ankle dorsiflexion in weightbearing averaged more than twice the range recorded in nonweightbearing.
This investigation indicated only a moderate correlation between the weightbearing and nonweightbearing dorsiflexion measurements.
This moderate correlation between ankle dorsiflexion in weightbearing and nonweightbearing suggests that the two measurements do not assess the exact same phenomenon.
This finding implies that the measurements should not be used interchangeably as measures of ankle dorsiflexion range of motion.
The greater ease of performance and the better inter-rater reliability are two factors favouring use of the weightbearing measurement.
The preferred measuring technique should be determined by the specific purpose of the investigator/clinician.
It would also seem prudent to include both measurements whenever possible in order to avoid false-negative findings.
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