Why you should be using the WBLT with your patients and clients!

assessment Feb 14, 2018

What Is The Weight Bearing Lunge Test (WBLT)?

The Weight-Bearing Lunge Test (WBLT) is a quick and convenient test used to “determine dorsiflexion ROM” (Hall. E and Docherty. C, 2017) in a weight-bearing position (closed Kinetic chain).

Why Use The Weight Bearing Lunge Test (WBLT)?

The amount of lower limb dorsiflexion is a common point of interest for lower limb pathologies as this is one of the first areas of the body to interact with the ground and absorb ground reaction force during activity.

The WBLT is a valuable test used in a clinical setting that can;

  • Set movement baseline measures for patients and clients to tailor unique management plans to the individual. 

  • Baseline measurements can help determine how great a risk the individual is for future injury based on data from the research. 

  • Aid in the assessment of return to play and activity objective measures to reduce the risk of injury and improve patient and client outcomes.

The Weight Bearing Lunge Test (WBLT) has been researched extensively in the literature.

  • The WBLT has been used to help identify risk of lower extremity injuries, which may include; ACL rupture, Ankle sprain (chronic and acute), Tendinopathy as well injuries associated with poor landing mechanics (Hall et al 2017).
  • Asymmetries in maximum lunge distance which were typically up to 1.5 cm with a smaller percentage of individuals exhibiting asymmetries in the upwards of 3 cm. 2 cm or greater lunge distance asymmetry on the WBLT is a clinically relevant impairment in ankle dorsiflexion. (Hoch et al 2011).
  • Persons with chronic ankle instability CIA) have demonstrated less dorsiflexion ROM during gait and less knee flexion during landing than persons without CIA. (Hall et al 2017).

  • Persons with less dorsiflexion ROM demonstrated a less flexed landing strategy that was less efficient at attenuating GRF. (Hall et al 2017).
  • A lower degree of ankle dorsiflexion in subjects with an ACL injury than in uninjured controls. (Wahlstedt. C and Rasmussen-Barr. E, 2015).

It may be hypothesized that an inability to demonstrate adequate foot and ankle dorsiflexion may potentiate greater stress and strain further up the kinematic chain.

How To Perform The Weight Bearing Lunge Test (WBLT)

Using The MAT the therapist or trainer asks the patient or client to stand on the MAT with one heel flat on the floor surface. Pushing the knee forward over the toes a measurement can be taken at the maximal point using the measurement ruler or an inclinometer, results are compared from side to side.

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