Edmund M. Kosmahl, PT, EdD



Range of first metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint dorsiflexion is functionally important for gait. The available range of 1st MTP joint dorsiflexion depends on the position of the 1st ray. A plantarflexed 1st ray allows greater range of 1st MTP dorsiflexion. I recommend stabilizing the 1st ray in plantarflexion to measure maximum range of 1st MTP dorsiflexion. The first photo demonstrates a good method for measuring 1st or 5th MTP joint dorsiflexion by placing the goniometer alongside the bones. This technique cannot be used for the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th MTP joints. The second photo shows a technique for measuring these joints.

 MTPdorsiflexion goniometry picture
Test Position
  • Subject supine
  • Stabilize 1st metatarsal in plantarflexion
  • Dorsiflex MTP
Normal Range
  • 1st - 65o to 75o (slightly less at lesser MTPs) is the minimum required for normal gait (Root, Orien, Weed. Normal and Abnormal Function of the Foot, pp. 60-61, Clinical Biomechanics Corp., Los Angeles, 1977.)
  • 1st - 50o , 2nd - 40o , 3rd - 30o , 4th - 20o , 5th - 10o (American Medical Association)
Goniometer Alignment
  • Axis medial to center of metararsal head
  • Stationary arm aligned metatarsal
  • Moving arm aligned with proximal phalange
Normal End Feel
  • Capsular
Assessing MTP Dorsiflexion by Placing Goniometer on Dorsum of Bones
(requires modified goniometer)
MTP dorsiflexion goniometer on dorsum picture

copyright 1999 E. Kosmahl