Assessing Plantar Fasciitis: The Windlass Test’s Diagnostic Accuracy

Procedure Information

January’s Five Minute Assessment Assistant

The association between diagnosis of plantar fasciitis and Windlass test results.



Study to determine the specificity and sensitivity of the windlass test in weight bearing and non-weight bearing positions for diagnosing plantar fasciitis.



Twenty-two patients with plantar fasciitis, 23 patients with other types of foot pain, and 30 patients in a control group were evaluated



Specificity (NWB and WB): 100%

Sensitivity (NWB) 13.6%, (WB) 31.8% 


Despite its low rate of sensitivity, the high rate of specificity in both WB and non-WB may help ‘rule in’ a diagnosis clinically. It should be performed in a WB position to increase sensitivity.


Position: To perform the test in WB the subject stands on a stool with their toes hanging over the edge such that the Metatarsal heads are supported but the surface of the stool will not interfere with the motion of the 1st MTP joint.

Test: Passively dorsiflex the first Metatarso-phalangeal joint (pull it up) to end range or until the subject felt pain, whichever comes first. A positive Windlass Test is defined as that reproducing the subjects specific pain.


The team at ASP have really enjoyed collaborating with you throughout 2020 and are looking forwards to bigger and better things this year! We hope you have all had a very Merry Christmas and a great start to 2021!


Michael Rafla
Australian Sports Physiotherapy
Ivanhoe, Heidelberg, Coburg, Northcote, Carlton North
0431 271 714


De Garceau D, Dean D, Requejo SM, Thordarson DB. The association between diagnosis of plantar fasciitis and Windlass test results. Foot Ankle Int. 2003 Mar;24(3):251-5. doi: 10.1177/107110070302400309. PMID: 12793489.

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