assessment Feb 14, 2018

Unlock your athlete’s potential by assessing their ankle!

If you are trapped into only assessing that knee or hip that your patient is complaining about then we want to give you 3 reasons why you should be getting those shoes off and perform the Weight-Bearing Lunge Test (WBLT).

Often, the knee that continues to niggle and aggravate your patient may not be a knee problem at all. Potentially it could be contributed to by a lack of ankle ROM. Addressing these deficits in ROM may help improve the movement of more proximal joints and allow for your athlete to absorb and dissipate those large forces in order to help potentially decrease their risk of injury.

3 FOR 1: What can the WBLT tell me???

5 Exercises for Ankle Mobility: A Guide to Fix Tight Ankles

1 - Potential for altered knee and ankle kinematics with squatting 

  • One study wanted to compare non-weight bearing (NWB) dorsiflexion to the weight-bearing lunge test and their effects on an overhead squat, single leg squat, and jump landing tasks.  
    • They found that the individuals with a greater WBLT had greater knee flexion and ankle dorsiflexion displacement during double-leg squatting and greater varus with the single leg squat.

    • The NWB Dorsiflexion did not account for any differences in the overhead squat, single leg squat, or jump landing tasks in their sample.

    • The WBLT was more sensitive in identifying individuals who may display high-risk kinematics

2 - Implications further up the chain and its effect on throwing athletes:

  • A study examined the relationship between some simple field tests and cricket players (Fast Bowlers) risk of injury:
    • Bowlers with an ankle range of motion between 12.1-14 cm on the WBLT on their lead leg (opposite of the throwing arm) were at increased risk of injury compared to individuals >14 cm

Ankle injury comes back to haunt Australian fast bowler Mitchell Starc

3 - Potential to account for poor dynamic balance:

  • In individuals with chronic ankle instability:
    • Positive correlations between the anterior reach, posterolateral reach, and composite SEBT scores.
  • The anterior reach of the SEBT significantly correlated with both the inclinometer and tape measure distance in the WBLT
  • The WBLT can account for some variation in the anterior reach, which has also been found to lead to 2.5x increase in injury risk with >4 cm difference!

Buy The MAT

Make sure that you assess the ankle with most, if not all your athletes, as there are huge implications that the ankle can have in exposing the entire lower extremity to a higher chance of injury. Other assessments may also include looking at the ankle movement in anterior balance reach as well as weight-bearing and explosive movements such as squatting and jumping.


Our MAT courses and MAT (Movement Assessment Tool) will allow you to objectively measure the way your patients and clients move, whether it be examining flexibility, assessing strength, or understanding balance. 

Identify imbalances or discrepancies, set a plan, and track progress over time. MAT makes helping your clients achieve their goals systematic and easy.

Sign up for the course to learn how to unlock your athletes’ and patients’ full potential!


Basnett CR, Hanish MJ, Wheeler TJ, et al. ANKLE DORSIFLEXION RANGE OF MOTION INFLUENCES DYNAMIC BALANCE IN INDIVIDUALS WITH CHRONIC ANKLE INSTABILITY. International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy. 2013;8(2):121-128. 

Dennis, R.J., Finch, C.F., McIntosh, A.S., Elliott, B.C. Using field-based tests to identify risk factors for injury to fast bowlers in cricket. BJSM, Publish Online First: 07 April 2008. Doi: 10.1136/bjsm.2008.04669 

Dill, K.E., Begalle, R.L., Frank, B.S., Zinder, S.M., Padua, D.A. Altered ankle kinematics during squatting in those with limited weight-bearing-lunge ankle-dorsiflexion range of motion. Journal of Athletic Training, 2014, 49(6): 723-732.

Kang, M.H., Lee, D.K., Park, K.H., & Oh, J.S. Association of ankle kinematics and performance on the y-balance test with inclinometer measurements on the weight-bearing-lunge test. Journal of Sport Rehabilitation, 2015, 24: 62-67. 

Plisky, P.J., Star excursion balance test as a predictor of lower extremity injury in high school basketball players

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