Forward step down test - clinical rating is correlated with joint angles of the pelvis and hip: an observational study

Smadar Peleg, Ruth Pelleg-Kallevag, Yuval Almog, Gideon Herman, Oren Nakdimon, Michal Arnon, Gali Dar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Clinical methods for assessing quality of movement and functional tests are important to clinicians. Typical deviations from normal kinematics during the clinical test of Forward Step Down Test (FSDT) are pelvic tilt and hip adduction which are associated with the risk of knee pain.

OBJECTIVES: (1) to examine the correlation between clinical assessment of the FSDT and joint angle measurements of pelvis, hip, knee and ankle joints in males and females; (2) to examine the differences in joint angles between individuals rated as good, fair or poor in a FSDT performance test.

METHODS: Ninety-two healthy individuals performing FSDT were video-taped with two-dimensional digital video cameras. The clinical assessment of the FSDT was rated by two experienced physical therapists as good, fair, or poor based on a Crossley et al. (2011) validated scale. Measurements of pelvic drop, hip adduction and knee valgus were taken using Image J software.

RESULTS: Out of 177 lower limbs, 74 (37 in each limb) were clinically rated as "good/fair" (41.80%) while 103 (52 in the dominant leg and 51 in the non-dominant leg) were rated as "poor" (58.19%). No significant differences were observed between dominant and non-dominant legs or between males and females in clinical rating of the FSDT. Pelvic drop angle was significantly higher and hip adduction angle was significantly lower for "poor" clinical rating compared to "good/fair" in both dominant and non-dominant legs (p < 0.001) in males and females. Females demonstrated higher pelvic drop, lower hip adduction and higher knee valgus angles compared with males (p < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS: This study showed that the clinical rating of FSDT is correlated with joint angle measurements suggesting that this assessment can be utilized in clinical practice. Individuals with poor quality performance of FSDT showed higher pelvic drop and hip adduction movement. Further studies examining different populations with diverse disorders or pathologies are essential.

Original languageEnglish
Article number807
JournalBMC Musculoskeletal Disorders
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, BioMed Central Ltd., part of Springer Nature.


  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Female
  • Hip Joint
  • Humans
  • Knee
  • Knee Joint
  • Lower Extremity
  • Male
  • Pelvis


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