Thompson’s Test

Other Known AliasesSimmond’s Test

Definitionpassive accessory movement test of the ankle to test for a ruptured achilles tendon

Clinical Significance To perform, place the patient in a pron position or kneeling on the injured extremity’s knee without supporting the foot and ankle. The grasp the muscle belly of the gastrocnemius and observe for passive plantarflexion. A positive test results in inability to plantarflex and confirms a complete rupture of the achilles tendon.

HistoryNamed after Theodore Thompson (1902-1986), an American orthopaedic surgeon who received his medical doctorate from Johns Hopkins University in 1928. Prior to enrolling at Hopkins, he was involved in a traumatic arm injury working at a steel mill where his arm went through a planer. Luckily, a local orthopaedic surgeon, knowing Thompson want to go into medicine, did not amputate and reconstructed his arm to regain full function. His career achievements include heading the amputation center at Walter Reed Hospital during World War II and becoming president of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons in 1954. He described his eponymous finding in 1962 in two separate articles….which was AFTER Franklin Adin Simmonds (1910-1983), a British orthopaedic surgeon, published the same findings in 1957. Thompson did however acknowledge and reference Simmonds in his 1962 paper. Depending on what side of the pond you trained on will determine how you learned the name of this test.


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  2. Bartolucci S, Forbis P.  Stedman’s Medical Eponyms.  2nd ed.  Baltimore, MD; LWW.  2005.
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  4. Whonamedit – dictionary of medical eponyms. http://www.whonamedit.com
  5. Up To Date. www.uptodate.com
  6. THOMPSON TC, DOHERTY JH. Spontaneous rupture of tendon of Achilles: a new clinical diagnostic test. The Journal of trauma. 1962; 2:126-9. [pubmed]
  7. THOMPSON TC. A test for rupture of the tendo achillis. Acta orthopaedica Scandinavica. 1962; 32:461-5. [pubmed]
  8. Simmonds FA. The diagnosis of the ruptured achilles tendon. The Practitioner. 1957;179(1069-1074):56-58 [article]
  9. Physiopaedia. Thompson Test. https://www.physio-pedia.com/Thompson_Test

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