Assessing a patient’s flexibility, which assesses a joint, or joints 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 ‘eye ball it’, they observe the joint, compare it to the patients non-injured side, or direction of movement and look for obvious changes. With an elbow or knee, this works quite well.
But for an ankle, it’s a little harder. You can compare both ankles simulations quite easily. The patient lies down and flexes their ankles, or the therapist moves the ankles into to the desired position.
But comparing ankle ROM to what is considered normal, or ideal is not so easy when full dorsiflexion is only 15-20 degrees. Dorsiflexion refers to the foot being moved from a neutral position, to toes toward shin position.
Is assessing for small changes relevant?
The short answer is yes. The long answer is, it depends on the person and activities their performing, and the loads their exerting upon their body as to just how relevant.
So, the short answer is yes, its 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. If you’d like to see the Easy Angle in action please watch the video below.
Easy Angles can be purchased in the UK from Gait & Motion.