The Association of Ankle Dorsiflexion Range of Motion With Hip and Knee Kinematics During the Lateral Step-down Test

J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2016 Nov;46(11):1002-1009. doi: 10.2519/jospt.2016.6621. Epub 2016 Sep 29.


Study Design Controlled laboratory study. Background Altered hip and knee kinematics have been associated with several knee disorders, including anterior cruciate ligament tear, patellofemoral pain, and iliotibial band syndrome. Limited ankle dorsiflexion (DF) range of motion (ROM), which has been linked with some of these disorders, has also been associated with altered knee kinematics. Objective To explore the association of ankle DF ROM with hip and knee kinematics during a step-down task. Methods Thirty healthy participants underwent a 3-D analysis of hip and knee kinematics during a lateral step-down test, followed by measurement of ankle DF ROM in weight bearing (WB) and non-weight bearing (NWB). Participants were dichotomized using the median values into low- and high-DF subgroups within both WB and NWB. Hip and knee kinematics were compared between the low- and high-DF subgroups. Results Participants in the low-DF subgroups exhibited greater peak hip adduction (WB, P = .02; NWB, P<.01) and greater peak knee external rotation (WB, P = .02; NWB, P<.01) compared with participants in the high-DF subgroups. In addition, participants in the low-DF WB subgroup exhibited decreased peak knee flexion compared with participants in the high-DF WB subgroup (P<.01). Conclusion Individuals with lower ankle DF ROM exhibited hip and knee kinematics previously associated with several knee disorders, suggesting that this impairment may be involved in the pathogenesis of the same disorders. Assessment of ankle DF ROM may be useful as part of a preparticipation screening. Furthermore, deficits in ankle DF ROM may need to be addressed in individuals with altered movement patterns. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 2016;46(11):-1. Epub 29 Sep 2016. doi:10.2519/jospt.2016.6621.

Keywords: dynamic valgus; movement pattern; talocrural joint.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ankle / physiology*
  • Ankle Joint / physiology*
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Female
  • Hip Joint / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional
  • Knee Joint / physiology*
  • Male
  • Range of Motion, Articular / physiology*
  • Weight-Bearing