Posts tagged range of motion
Utilizing the Squat to Screen for Ankle Mobility
squat-screening-test-ankle mobility

The role of ankle mobility on injury risk and performance has been previously described in our prior blog posts.  These posts have described the correlation between a lack of mobility at the ankle and knee injuries including patellofemoral knee pain and ACL injury, as well as, ankle sprains and achilles tendonitis.  A lack of ankle mobility has been shown to alter knee and hip biomechanics as well as reduce dynamic ankle stability.  A new article reviews the utility of using squat testing as a screening for ankle mobility.

Rabin and colleagues put 53 healthy participants through weight bearing and non wearing ankle mobility measurements as well as squat testing (J Strength Conditioning Research. 2017).  Athletes were screened with both an overhead and forward arm squat to determine their ability to detect a loss of ankle mobility in participants with limited mobility on ankle measurements.  The authors reported high screening utility (sensitivity 1.0, negative likelihood ratio 0.0) for the overhead squat, but better diagnostic properties in the forward arm squat (specificity .84-.88, positive likelihood ratio 3.49-6.02).  Screening athletes first with the overhead squat followed by the forward arm squat is an easy clinical method of assessing ankle mobility.

Influence of Posture on Shoulder Function and Pain
shoulder pain-posture-range of motion-strength

Shoulder pain is the 2nd most common orthopedic reason patients seek out medical care behind low back pain.  Shoulder pain has many causes including lack of mobility, shoulder blade and rotator cuff weakness, but posture is often criticized as a risk factor for shoulder pain.  Clinicians and patients believe a poor posture places structures such as the rotator cuff at risk for injury or the posture changes the function of muscles in the upper body.  In our practice, we often find stiffness or a lack of mobility in the middle back (thoracic spine) either precipitates or perpetuates a patient's shoulder symptoms.  Poor mobility in the thoracic spine requires more of the neck and shoulder during a given functional movement.

A recent review article searched the available evidence to determine posture's role on shoulder pain and function.  Barrett and colleagues examined 10 studies to determine if posture influences shoulder range of motion or the development of shoulder pain (Man Ther. 2016).  They found moderate evidence showing no difference in thoracic posture between those with and without shoulder pain.  Conversely, the did find strong support that better posture allows for greater shoulder range of motion compared to a slumped posture.  Their final conclusion stated no significant contribution of thoracic posture on the development of future shoulder pain, but further research is needed.