Ankle Orthopaedic Test: Silfverskiold Test

orthopaedic tests May 25, 2023
Silfverskiold Test

The Silfverskiold Test is a physical examination test used to assess the tightness of the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles. This test is commonly used to evaluate the ankle joint and lower leg injuries.

Here is a step-by-step procedure to perform the Silfverskiold Test:

  1. Position the patient lying prone (face down) on the examination table or bed with the affected leg extended.
  2. Flex the unaffected knee to 90 degrees and position it to stabilize the pelvis.
  3. Passively dorsiflex the affected ankle (pulling the foot towards the shin) to its end range.
  4. Ask the patient to indicate the level of pain they experience during this passive dorsiflexion.
  5. Next, place a small wedge under the affected heel (1/4 inch for children and 1/2 inch for adults) and repeat the passive dorsiflexion.
  6. Ask the patient again to indicate the level of pain they experience during this passive dorsiflexion.
  7. Compare the pain levels reported by the patient during the two passive dorsiflexion movements. If there is a decrease in pain with the wedge in place, it suggests that the patient has tightness in the gastrocnemius muscle. If there is no difference in pain levels, it suggests that the patient has tightness in the soleus muscle.
  8. Record the results and use them in conjunction with other clinical findings to determine the appropriate treatment plan.

Note: It is important to use caution when performing this test on patients with known ankle instability or ligamentous laxity.



  1. Silfverskiold, K. L. (1976). Reduction of the uncrossed two-joints muscles of the leg to one-joint muscles in spastic conditions. Acta Orthopaedica Scandinavica, 47(3), 475-486.
  2. Magee, D. J. (2013). Orthopedic physical assessment (6th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Saunders Elsevier.
  3. Hertel, J., & Miller, S. J. (2010). Rehabilitation of the ankle after acute sprain or chronic instability. Journal of athletic training, 45(5), 464-471.
  4. Van Duijvenbode, I. C., Jellema, P., van Poppel, M. N., van Tulder, M. W., & van der Windt, D. A. (2010). Different diagnostic tools for evaluating ankle sprains: a systematic review. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, 20(2), 269-279.
  5. Bennell, K., Talbot, R., Wajswelner, H., Techovanich, W., & Kelly, D. (1998). Intra-rater and inter-rater reliability of a weight-bearing lunge measure of ankle dorsiflexion. Australian Journal of Physiotherapy, 44(3), 175-180.
  6. Craig, C. L., & Marshall, A. L. (2011). Sjogren's syndrome and trigger points: a case report. Manual Therapy, 16(2), 198-200.
  7. Drysdale, G. A., & Miller, M. (1994). Correction of equinus deformity in cerebral palsy by tendo calcaneus lengthening: evaluation of the Silfverskiold test in assessing contracture. Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics, 14(2), 241-243.
  8. Green, T., & Refshauge, K. M. (2001). Evaluation of lower limb muscle flexibility in elite ballet dancers using the modified Thomas test. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 35(4), 258-263.

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