This test measures the flexibility of the lower back and hamstring muscles, similar to what is measured with the sit and reach test performed while sitting. Lower back flexibility is important because tightness in this area is implicated in lumbar lordosis, forward pelvic tilt and lower back pain. The procedure for the toe touch test is the same as for the Schober test, though in the schober test the measurement is taken at the spine.
purpose: To measure the flexibility of the lower back and hamstring muscles.
equipment required: ruler
pre-test: Explain the test procedures to the subject. Perform screening of health risks and obtain informed consent. Prepare forms and record basic information such as age, height, body weight, gender and test conditions (amount of warm-up). See more details of pre-test procedures.
procedure: The subject stands erect, bare-footed, and with feet slightly apart. The subject then bends at the waist to lean slowly forwards to attempt to touch the ground with their finger-tips, the hand flat with the finger outstretched. Bouncing and jerking are not allowed. The examiner holds a ruler on the ground, the zero mark at the ground level. The knees must be kept straight (the examiner may need to hold them to prevent any bending).
scoring: Measure the distance from the fingertips to the ground. The distance between the end of the fingers and the ground is measured with the ruler.
advantages: this is a very simple test to conduct, it can be performed quickly with minimal equipment.
- If the subject can touch their toes or reach further, then you can do this test on a raised platform or step, and measure how far past the toes they can reach. Any distance further than the toes will be a negative score.
- Always perform this test under the same circumstances, a differing amount of warm-up can affect the results
- Kippers V, Parker AW. Toe-touch test. A measure of its validity. Phys Ther. 1987 Nov;67(11):1680-4.
- Kraus-Weber Floor Touch Test — can the subject touch their toes for 10 seconds?
- Stand & Reach — stand on a raised surface and bend forwards with straight legs. Measure how far past the toes the fingers can reach.
- Schober test — measures the flexibility of the lumbar spine based on the stretching of the skin over the lumbar spine while bending forwards.
- General description of the sit and reach test.
- Other flexibility tests.
- See the hamstring flexibility exercises on this list of stretches.