Assessing a patient’s flexibility assesses a joint or joint’s range of motion (ROM). And then comparing this to how much movement there should be, provides a great insight into musculoskeletal health.
Some joints are very easy to assess. Like the knee, it’s a big joint and easy to observe changes in ROM. But other joints can be more challenging.
Traditionally most therapists eyeball it. They observe the joint, compare it to the patient’s non-injured side or direction of movement and look for noticeable changes. With an elbow or knee, this works quite well.
But for an ankle, it’s a little more complicated. You can compare both ankles simulations quite easily. The patient lies down and flexes their ankles, or the therapist moves them into the desired position.
But comparing ankle ROM to what is considered normal or ideal is more challenging when full dorsiflexion is only 15-20 degrees. Dorsiflexion refers to the foot moving from a neutral position to the toes toward the shin position.
Do you think assessing for minor changes is relevant?
The short answer is yes. The long answer is that it depends on the person and activities they perform and the loads they’re exerting upon their body as to just how relevant.
So, the short answer is yes, it’s relevant. The challenge, though, is that using a traditional goniometer can be very tricky and time-consuming. Using them, you’d think they’d been designed for someone with three hands. Please watch the video below if you’d like to see the Easy Angle in action.
Easy Angles can be purchased in the UK from Gait & Motion.