Weightbearing and Nonweightbearing Ankle Dorsiflexion Range of Motion

The study aimed to compare weightbearing and nonweightbearing ankle dorsiflexion measurements and to examine the correlation between the two.

Forty-three individuals, with no history of surgery in the lower extremities or lumbar spine, were recruited for this purpose.

Two examiners tested the dominant limb of each participant.

A fluid-filled inclinometer with one degree increments was used to measure ankle dorsiflexion in weightbearing.

Once maximal dorsiflexion was achieved, the examiner placed the inclinometer over a marked spot on the anterior tibia of the participant, to record the range of dorsiflexion.

This was repeated three times with the average being used for data analysis.

Passive nonweightbearing ankle dorsiflexion was measured with a universal goniometer with one degree increments.

The examiner verified a subtalar neutral position and placed the ankle at maximal dorsiflexion.

The average of three measurements was used for data analysis.

A mixed-model intraclass correlation coefficient for absolute agreement, was used to estimate the interrater reliability of both range of motion measurements.

Ankle dorsiflexion in weightbearing averaged more than twice the range recorded in nonweightbearing.

A moderate correlation was found between the weightbearing and nonweightbearing dorsiflexion measurements (r = 0.6– 0.64), indicating that the two do not assess the exact same phenomenon.

Hence these should not be used interchangeably as measures of ankle dorsiflexion range of motion.

The study concluded that the preferred measuring technique should be determined by the specific purpose of the investigator/clinician.


  1. Alon Rabin, Zvi Kozol (2012) Weightbearing and Nonweightbearing Ankle Dorsiflexion Range of Motion. Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association: September/October 2012, Vol. 102, No. 5, pp. 406-411

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