Does Limited Ankle Dorsiflexion Predispose Athletes to Knee Pathology: A Correlation Study

Abstract

Introduction: The purpose of this study was to investigate whether or not a correlation exists between limited ankle dorsiflexion and knee pathologies. Current literature suggests there is a relationship between dorsiflexion and multiple knee pathologies including Patella-Femoral Pain Syndrome, ACL rupture, and Osgood-SchlatterÍs disease. æMethods: Participants were 146 male and female NCAA division one student-athletes ages 18-23. Exclusion criteria included subjects with previous ankle or knee injury within the four weeks prior to testing, as well as ankle, knee or hip surgery in the past four months of testing. Measurements were taken using the modified weight-bearing lunge method with a digital inclinometer. Measurements were taken three times for each ankle and an average was taken for each side. Subjects with an average measurement less than 35Á were considered ñlimitedî. Injuries were then tracked and recorded over a six month period. ææResults: The design of this experiment was Chi-Squared. The Chi-Squared test for independence indicated no significant association between limited ankle dorsiflexion and knee pathologies, (n=146) =0.53. The mean right ankle dorsiflexion measurement was 37.37Á±6.03Á, and the left was 37.19Á± 6.42Á. ææDiscussion: Although the data did not find a correlation between knee injuries as a result of limited dorsiflexion, of the 19 subjects with reported injuries, 10 had limited dorsiflexion. This shows that among the injured subjects, there was a higher rate of incidence in subjects considered limited. Limiting factors of this research include underreporting of injuries by athletes as well as combining data from several different sports with varying significance.