So, what’s in a test? The standing tripod test

Many of you probably recognize this as the standing tripod test (see here for video of standing tripod exercise). You have the individual stand on both foot tripods (center of calcaneus, head of 1st metatarsal and head of 5th metatarsal). Then have the person lift one leg and remain on the other tripod. This individual was featured in last thurdays post.

watch for:
collapse of arch
body lean
hip sway
falling to either side
spontaneous combustion (OK, this is a RARE complication).

What do we see here?

top picture, L leg

  • collapse of arch
  • forefoot eversion
  • valgus angulation of knee
  • pelvic shift to L
  • arm moves to compensate on right

middle picture, R leg

  • mild collapse of arch
  • pronounced pelvic shift to left
  • body lean to R
  • compensatory arm movement on L

Bottom picture

  • note the pronounced appearance of the head of the 1st met on the L foot
  • bilateral hallux abducto valgus most likely means bilateral uncompensated forefoot varus
  • more hammering (flexion) of digits on the R foot
  • note the prominence of the tail or tubercle of the 5th metatarsal on the L foot

Some questions for you:

Q: why does he have a pelvic shift to the left in both r and L leg standing?

A: look at the feet. He is able t make a better tripod on the L foot, probably because of the prominence of the head of the 1st metatarsal. also note the valgus angulation of the knee, which helps to shift the center of mass to the midline. this is most likely a long term compensation

Q: Why does he have more body lean to the R during r leg standing?

A: see previous question AND he probably has weaker hip abductor muscles on the right

Q: did you notice that the hand and forearm were more supinated in the top (L standing) picture than the middle (r standing) picture (where he is more pronated)? What gives?

A: Wow, this is some subtle stuff, eh? Look to the brain. remember coordinate arm swing? (if not, look here and here) Supination accesses more of the extensors of the arm and pronation more of the flexors. When we have less extensor activity (remember flexor dominance? if not, click here) you have a tendency to use your flexors more to compensate (you use what you have available to you). It appears that he has a much tougher time standing on his r leg (judging from the increased compensation)

Q: Wow,  nice floors! Are they hardwood?

A: No, laminate

The Gait Guys. Helping you help others each and every post. Keep your eyes and your mind open : )