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The assessment of the maximum ankle dorsiflexion angle is an important clinical examination procedure. Evidence shows that the traditional goniometer is highly unreliable, and various designs of goniometers to measure the maximum ankle dorsiflexion angle rely on the application of a known force to obtain reliable results. Hence, an innovative ankle dorsiflexion measurement device was designed to make this measurement more reliable by holding the foot in a selected posture without the application of a known moment. To report on the comprehensive validity and reliability testing carried out on the new device. Following validity testing, four different trials to test reliability of the ankle dorsiflexion measurement device were performed. These trials included inter-rater and intra-rater testings with a controlled moment, intra-rater reliability testing with knees flexed and extended without a controlled moment, intra-rater testing with a patient population, and inter-rater reliability testing between four raters of varying experience without controlling moment. All raters were blinded. A series of trials to test intra-rater and inter-rater reliabilities. Results: Intra-rater reliability intraclass correlation coefficient was 0.98 and inter-rater reliability intraclass correlation coefficient (2,1) was 0.953 with a controlled moment. With uncontrolled moment, very high reliability for intra-tester was also achieved (intraclass correlation coefficient = 0.94 with knees extended and intraclass correlation coefficient = 0.95 with knees flexed). For the trial investigating test-retest reliability with actual patients, intraclass correlation coefficient of 0.99 was obtained. In the trial investigating four different raters with uncontrolled moment, intraclass correlation coefficient of 0.91 was achieved. The new ankle dorsiflexion measurement device is a valid and reliable device for measuring ankle dorsiflexion in both healthy subjects and patients, with both controlled and uncontrolled moments, even by multiple raters of varying experience when the foot is dorsiflexed to its end of range of motion. An ankle dorsiflexion measuring device has been designed to increase the reliability of ankle dorsiflexion measurement and replace the traditional goniometer. While the majority of similar devices rely on application of a known moment to perform this measurement, it has been shown that this is not required with the new ankle dorsiflexion measurement device and, rather, foot posture should be taken into consideration as this affects the maximum ankle dorsiflexion angle.


Alfred Gatt, Nachiappan Chockalingam. Validity and reliability of a new ankle dorsiflexion measurement device. Prosthetics and orthotics international. 2013 Aug;37(4):289-97

PMID: 23211471

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