Interactive Guide to Physical Examination

The Ankle and Foot - Examination Techniques


Inspect the foot, evaluating for swelling, deformities, nodules, corns or lesions. During inspection, take special notice of the metatarsophalangeal joints, the sole of the foot, the nailbeds and skin lesions.


The ankles and feet are prone to injury and overuse syndromes. Begin palpation at the anterior ankle joint, evaluating for swelling and tenderness, then continue posteriorly to evaluate the achilles tendon. Move to the plantar surface of the foot, evaluating the calcaneous and the insertion of the plantar fascia. Next, move to the forefoot, palpating the metatarsophalangeal joints.

Range of Motion:

The ankle moves in dorsiflexion and plantarflexion with inversion and eversion at the heel and forefoot. The feet and toes move in flexion, extension with limited abduction and adduction.

View video Click on the video icon to view a demonstration of the ankle inspection.