Ankle Orthopaedic Test: Thompson Test

orthopaedic tests May 25, 2023

The Thompson test is a physical examination technique used to assess the integrity of the Achilles tendon in the ankle. Here are the step-by-step procedures to perform the Thompson test:

  1. Ask the patient to lie on their stomach on the examination table.
  2. Expose the patient's calf and ankle, and ensure that their foot is hanging off the edge of the table.
  3. With one hand, firmly grasp the patient's calf muscle, just below the knee, and squeeze it.
  4. Observe the patient's foot for any movement.
  5. While still squeezing the calf muscle, use your other hand to squeeze the patient's heel.
  6. Observe the patient's foot again for any movement.
  7. If the Achilles tendon is intact, the foot should move slightly downwards (plantarflexion) in response to the squeeze on the heel.
  8. If there is no movement or minimal movement, this suggests a ruptured Achilles tendon.



  1. Thompson, T. C. (1962). A test for rupture of the tendo Achillis. Acta Orthopaedica Scandinavica, 32(4), 461-465.
  2. Ropper, A. H., & Samuels, M. A. (2014). Adams and Victor's principles of neurology. McGraw-Hill Education.
  3. Magee, D. J. (2014). Orthopedic physical assessment. Elsevier Health Sciences.
  4. Koulouris, G., Ting, A. Y., & Jhamb, A. (2007). Magnetic resonance imaging findings of injuries to the calf muscle complex. Skeletal radiology, 36(12), 1139-1145.
  5. Lee, J. H., Kim, S., & Kim, K. J. (2013). Diagnostic value of the calf squeeze test for partial tears of the Achilles tendon. Journal of Foot and Ankle Surgery, 52(4), 465-467.
  6. Dombek, M. F., & Lamm, B. M. (2010). Saline load test: a clinical adjunct for the examination of Achilles tendon ruptures. Foot & ankle international, 31(8), 692-695.
  7. Kachlik, D., & Pechacek, V. (2014). The contribution of the Thompson test in the diagnosis of Achilles tendon rupture. Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research, 9(1), 1-4.
  8. Waseem, M., Nuhmani, S., & Ram, C. S. (2018). Thompson test. In StatPearls [Internet]. StatPearls Publishing.

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