Foot and Ankle Disability Index (FADI)

Explore the Foot and Ankle Disability Index (FADI), a tool designed to assess and monitor functional limitations from chronic ankle instability and related conditions. Download for free.

By Telita Montales on Jul 15, 2024.


Fact Checked by Ericka Pingol.

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What are ankle and foot disabilities?

Ankle and foot disabilities refer to any condition or injury that affects the feet and/or ankles, leading to pain, discomfort, limited mobility, or difficulty in performing daily activities. These disabilities can range from mild to severe, and they can be caused by a variety of factors such as genetics, injuries, medical conditions, or lifestyle choices.

Some common examples of ankle and foot disabilities include:

  • Achilles tendinopathy: Degenerative changes in the Achilles tendon, causing inflammation and pain.
  • Achilles tendon rupture: A complete tear of the Achilles tendon, resulting in pain, loss of movement, and strength.
  • Ankle arthritis: Breakdown of cartilage in the ankle joint due to trauma, autoimmune diseases, or infection, causing pain and stiffness.
  • Ankle instability: Damage to the ankle joint's cartilage, leading to pain and loss of ankle function if left untreated.
  • Arthritis of the big toe joint: Inflammation and stiffness in the joint connecting the big toe to the foot.
  • Bunion: Misalignment of the first metatarsal bone, causing a noticeable bump on the side of the big toe.
  • Cavovarus foot deformity: Higher-than-usual arches and inward turning of the heels, often associated with neurological disorders.

Assessing foot and ankle disabilities is crucial for proper diagnosis, treatment, and management of these conditions. It allows healthcare professionals to understand the severity of the disability, track changes over time, and determine appropriate interventions.

Foot and Ankle Disability Index (FADI) Template

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Foot and Ankle Disability Index (FADI) Example

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What is the Foot and Ankle Disability Index (FADI)?

The Foot and Ankle Disability Index (FADI) is a self-reported tool that measures functional limitations associated with foot and ankle conditions. It evaluates daily activities and quantifies dysfunction in affected patients. The FADI consists of two parts: the FADI, which focuses on everyday activities, and the FADI Sports, which assesses more challenging tasks essential for sports.

The FADI comprises 4 pain-related items and 22 activity-related items, while the FADI Sport or the foot and ankle disability index sport subscale includes 8 activity-related items. Each of the FADI and FADI Sports items is scored from 0 (unable to do) to 4 (no difficulty at all). Meanwhile, FADI pain-related items are scored from 0 (no pain) to 4 (unbearable). The FADI has a total point value of 104 points, and the FADI Sport has a total point value of 32 points.

Benefits of using the  Foot and Ankle Disability Index (FADI)

The FADI, through patient-assessed instruments, provides a comprehensive overview of a patient's foot and ankle ability. Particularly useful in measuring chronic ankle instability, these assessments offer critical insights that can guide treatment and rehabilitation strategies for individuals with acute ankle sprains or chronic issues.

Orthopaedic sports physical therapy and athletic training professionals frequently utilize the FADI to gauge the effectiveness of interventions and to track progress over time. By including both general and sport-specific questions, the FADI sports subscale is instrumental in understanding the unique challenges faced by athletes and healthy subjects alike. This measurement tool is not only applicable to those with existing conditions but also serves as a benchmark for healthy subjects in preventative care.

Moreover, the FADI assists in identifying acute swelling and other symptoms that may affect daily activities and athletic performance. Its detailed approach to assess functional limitations related ankle and foot disabilities ensures that both the clinician and the patient have a clear understanding of the foot and ankle condition, enabling more tailored and effective treatment plans.

Treatment options for foot and ankle disabilities

There are various treatment options available for foot and ankle disabilities, depending on the underlying cause and severity of the condition:

Physical therapy

This is often the first line of treatment for foot and ankle disabilities. A physical therapist can assess your condition and develop a personalized exercise program to improve strength, flexibility, and range of motion in the affected area.


Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be prescribed to reduce pain and inflammation associated with foot and ankle conditions. In some cases, corticosteroid injections may also be recommended to alleviate symptoms.


Custom-made shoe inserts or braces can help correct structural imbalances in the feet and provide support for weakened muscles or joints.


In more severe cases, surgery may be necessary to repair damaged tissues or correct deformities in the foot and ankle.

Rest and ice

For acute injuries, rest and icing the affected area can help reduce pain and swelling. Elevating the foot while resting can also aid in reducing inflammation.

Lifestyle modifications

Making adjustments to your daily activities, such as avoiding high-impact exercises or wearing proper footwear, can also help alleviate symptoms of foot and ankle disabilities.

What is the Foot and Ankle Disability Index?
What is the Foot and Ankle Disability Index?

Commonly asked questions

What is the Foot and Ankle Disability Index?

The Foot and Ankle Disability Index (FADI) is a standardized measurement tool used to assess the functional ability of individuals with foot and ankle disabilities. It consists of patient-assessed questionnaires that cover various aspects of daily activities and sports-related movements.

Who can benefit from using the FADI?

Individuals with acute or chronic foot pain and ankle conditions, as well as athletes looking to prevent injuries or track their progress, can benefit from using the FADI.

Is the FADI just for sports-related injuries?

No, while there is a sports subscale within the FADI, it is also applicable to those with general foot and ankle conditions. The FADI can serve as a benchmark for both healthy individuals and those with existing injuries.

How is the FADI different from other measurement tools?

The FADI stands out due to its comprehensive approach, covering both general and sport-specific activities. It also takes into account the patient's perspective, making it more reliable in understanding functional limitations and progress over time.

How does the Foot and Ankle Disability Index (FADI) utilize ankle ability measure?

The Foot and Ankle Disability Index (FADI) incorporates the ankle ability measure to provide a comprehensive assessment of an individual's functional capabilities. By including a variety of questions that evaluate both general daily activities and sport-specific functions, the FADI effectively gauges the overall ability of the ankle.

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