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01-12-2018 | Research | Uitgave 1/2018 Open Access

Journal of Foot and Ankle Research 1/2018

A randomised cross over study to evaluate the performance of a novel ankle dorsiflexion measurement device for novice users

Journal of Foot and Ankle Research > Uitgave 1/2018
Peter R. Worsley, Caitlan Conington, Holly Stuart, Alice Patterson, Dan L. Bader



The ankle joint is a common site of musculoskeletal pathology. Measurement of its functional range of motion is a primary indicator for rehabilitation outcomes in therapy settings. The present study was designed to assess reliability and validity of a new standardised method using a D-Flex device to assess ankle range of motion.


A cohort of 20 healthy volunteers were recruited to measure the weight-bearing ankle range of motion using three assessment tools, namely, a goniometer, inclinometer and the D-Flex measurement devices. Repeated measures were performed both between and within observers for each device over a 48 h period. Performance evaluation of each device and their reliability was assessed using intra-class correlation coefficients and Bland and Altman plots.


Although significant correlations (p < 0.05) were observed between devices, there were large mean differences in ankle range of motion values ranging from 4.3°-15.7°. The D-flex produced the highest inter- and intra-rater reliability (ICCs 0.76–0.95), compared to values of 0.55–0.85 and 0.32–0.71 for the goniometer and inclinometer, respectively. The Bland and Altman plots revealed a low mean observer difference for the D-Flex (mean difference = 0.7°), with the vast majority of data coincident within the 95% confidence intervals. For both the goniometer and inclinometer mean differences were higher, with values of 3.1° and 5.7° respectively.


The results of the present study provide evidence to support the use of the D-Flex system as a valid, portable, and easy to use alternative to the weight-bearing lunge test when assessing ankle dorsiflexion ROM in healthy participants.

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