Conducting A Quick And Easy Functional Lower Extremity Exam Of An Athlete

Paul Langer, DPM

   For patients who do poorly with this test (and many do), “the test becomes the exercise.”5 Instruct the patient to do one set of 10 daily. Patients often report noticeable improvement with the coordination and activation of the flexor hallucis brevis after even a few days.

In Summary

One can easily incorporate these simple and quick tests into the physical exam and obtain a wealth of information. These tests can uncover hidden or subtle deficiencies such as proprioceptive deficits, muscle inhibitions and faulty movement patterns that are often present, even in fit, accomplished athletes. They are also very effective in helping athletes feel their own deficits and then monitor their response to therapeutic interventions.

   Two excellent clinical resources that provide more depth to the physical exam and therapeutic interventions for the athlete are Jay Dicharry’s Anatomy For Runners: Unlocking Your Athletic Potential for Health, Speed and Injury Prevention and Gray Cook’s Movement: Functional Movement Systems, Screening-Assessment-Corrective Strategies.

   Dr. Langer is in private practice at Twin Cities Orthopedics in Minneapolis. He is an Adjunct Clinical Professor at the University of Minnesota Medical School and a board member of the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine.

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