Special Tests: Ankle Joint

by Brent Brookbush DPT, PT, COMT, MS, PES, CES, CSCS, ACSM H/FS

For an introduction to Special Tests including definitions of specific terminology, what special tests measure, how we chose the tests in these lessons, and best use, check out:

Special Tests Covered in this Lesson:

Ankle Test Selection:

Reviewing the research on tests for the ankle, a general statement may be made about the lack of research investigating their accuracy. Very few high quality studies are currently available.  An attempt has been made in this course to choose the "Best Tests" for the orthopedic clinician. This started with the careful exclusion of any test that was unlikely to improve diagnostic accuracy over chance, and further exclude weak tests that were related to diagnoses rarely seen in an orthopedic setting. Useful ankle tests fell into three categories: ligament integrity, ankle impingement and ankle fracture. The Navicular Drop Test has been added to this course due to convention; it is often considered a "special test" despite functioning like a goniometric assessments.

Ligament Integrity:

Ankle Anterior Drawer & Medial Subtalor Glide Test

Anterior Drawer

  1. The patient is supine with ankle just off the end of the table, and the examiner at the patient's feet.
  2. The examiner uses the hand on the medial side of the affected extremity to stabilize the tibia, by wrapping a the hand around the distal tibia above (just