Manual Muscle Testing: Dorsiflexion

Muscles Involved:

Tibialis Anterior

Extensor Digitorum Longus

Peroneus Tertius

Extensor Hallicus Longus

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.