Manual Muscle Testing: Dorsiflexion

Original Editor - Claire Knott

Top Contributors - Claire Knott and Wanda van Niekerk  

Muscles Involved:

Patient Positioning

  • Short sitting, ankle hanging off the plinth
  • For grades 0-2 patient is in side lying, the 'gravity minimal' position

Therapist Position

  • Sit on stool/chair in front of patient
  • Palpate the tibialis anterior
  • Other hand resistance over dorsal foot

To Test

  • Patient to actively dorsiflex
  • Grades 4 and 5: therapist to give resistance to dorsiflexion and slight inversion movement (this is the action of the main dorsiflexor tibialis anterior) [1]
  • To satisfy grade 5 'normal muscle' performance criteria, the patient must have the ability to move through complete range of motion (active resistance testing) OR maintain an end point range (break testing) against maximum resistance.


  1. Hislop H, Avers D, Brown M. Daniels and Worthingham's muscle Testing-E-Book: Techniques of manual examination and performance testing. Elsevier Health Sciences; 2013 Sep 27.