Utility of the Overhead Squat and Forward Arm Squat in Screening for Limited Ankle Dorsiflexion

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Rabin, A and Kozol, Z. Utility of the overhead squat and forward arm squat in screening for limited ankle dorsiflexion. J Strength Cond Res 31(5): 1251–1258, 2017—Limited ankle dorsiflexion (DF) range of motion (ROM) has been implicated in several lower extremity disorders. Effective screening for DF ROM may, therefore, help to identify “at risk” individuals. The primary purpose of this study was to determine the utility of 2 screening tests in detecting limited ankle DF ROM. Fifty-three healthy participants underwent an overhead squat (OS) test and a forward arm squat (FAS) test, as well as bilateral testing of weight-bearing and non–weight-bearing ankle DF ROM. Participants whose DF ROM fell below 1 SD from the sample average were considered to have limited DF ROM. The sensitivity, specificity, positive, and negative likelihood ratio (LR) of the OS and FAS in detecting individuals with limited DF ROM was calculated. The sensitivity of the OS was 1.00 regardless of the mode or the side of testing, whereas specificity ranged from 0.34 to 0.36. The positive LR of the OS ranged from 1.52 to 1.56, whereas negative LR was 0.00. The sensitivity of the FAS ranged from 0.56 to 0.70, whereas specificity ranged from 0.84 to 0.88. The positive and negative LR of the FAS ranged from 3.49 to 6.02, and 0.34 to 0.53, respectively. Our findings suggest that the OS and FAS may be used as complementing tests in screening for ankle DF limitation. Because of its excellent sensitivity, the OS should be performed first, and if negative, may confidently rule out limited DF ROM. However, given a positive OS, testing should proceed with the FAS, to more confidently rule in limited DF ROM.

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