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Clinical Implications of a One-hand Versus Two-hand Technique in the Silfverskiöld Test for Gastrocnemius Equinus

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original abstract Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.

Introduction Isolated gastrocnemius equinus contracture has been associated with several foot and ankle pathologies within the literature. The Silfverskiöld test is commonly used to identify isolated gastrocnemius contracture, however, the proper technique for performing the test has been scrutinized. The purpose of this study was to determine if there is a clinical significance in the ankle dorsiflexion that is obtained when the examination is performed incorrectly with a single hand versus the correct two-hand technique. Methods Thirty consecutive new patients with conditions associated with gastrocnemius equinus were included in the study. The Silfverskiöld test was performed with a two-hand technique and a single-hand technique. The amount of dorsiflexion obtained with the knee in full extension was measured and recorded using an extendable goniometer for each technique, with the arms aligned with the fifth metatarsal and fibular head. Results The average amount of dorsiflexion that was obtained with the two-hand technique with the knee in full extension was 76.3°±4.2°. When the one-hand technique was utilized the average amount of dorsiflexion obtained with the knee in full extension was 88.4°±4.2°. This was found to be statistically significant (p<0.01). Conclusion This study demonstrates that if the Silfverskiöld test is not performed correctly, the diagnosis of an isolated gastrocnemius contracture could be underappreciated. Accordingly, it may be important to perform the test with two hands in order to neutralize the hindfoot, midfoot, and forefoot, so that the dorsiflexion motion is through the tibiotalar joint alone.

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