Ankle-dorsiflexion range of motion and landing biomechanics

Chun Man Fong, J. Troy Blackburn, Marc F. Norcross, Melanie McGrath, Darin A. Padua

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

236 Scopus citations


Context: A smaller amount of ankle-dorsiflexion displacement during landing is associated with less knee-flexion displacement and greater ground reaction forces, and greater ground reaction forces are associated with greater knee-valgus displacement. Additionally, restricted dorsiflexion range of motion (ROM) is associated with greater knee-valgus displacement during landing and squatting tasks. Because large ground reaction forces and valgus displacement and limited knee-flexion displacement during landing are anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury risk factors, dorsiflexion ROM restrictions may be associated with a greater risk of ACL injury. However, it is unclear whether clinical measures of dorsiflexion ROM are associated with landing biomechanics. Objective: To evaluate relationships between dorsiflexion ROM and landing biomechanics. Design: Descriptive laboratory study. Setting: Research laboratory. Patients or Other Participants: Thirty-five healthy, physically active volunteers. Intervention(s): Passive dorsiflexion ROM was assessed under extended-knee and flexed-knee conditions. Landing biomechanics were assessed via an optical motion-capture system interfaced with a force plate. Main Outcome Measure(s): Dorsiflexion ROM was measured in degrees using goniometry. Knee-flexion and kneevalgus displacements and vertical and posterior ground reaction forces were calculated during the landing task. Simple correlations were used to evaluate relationships between dorsiflexion ROM and each biomechanical variable. Results: Significant correlations were noted between extended-knee dorsiflexion ROM and knee-flexion displacement (r = 0.464, P = .029) and vertical (r = -0.411, P = .014) and posterior (r = -0.412, P = .014) ground reaction forces. All correlations for flexed-knee dorsiflexion ROM and knee-valgus displacement were nonsignificant. Conclusions: Greater dorsiflexion ROM was associated with greater knee-flexion displacement and smaller ground reaction forces during landing, thus inducing a landing posture consistent with reduced ACL injury risk and limiting the forces the lower extremity must absorb. These findings suggest that clinical techniques to increase plantar-flexor extensibility and dorsiflexion ROM may be important additions to ACL injuryprevention programs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-10
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Athletic Training
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011


  • Anterior cruciate ligament
  • Extensibility
  • Flexibility
  • Force attenuation
  • Kinematics
  • Kinetics


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