The Pterygoids role is to stabilise the condyle in the socket as it rotates and translates forward and then to act as a decelerator when the jaw closes to guide the condyle back into its resting place. Dysfunction of the pterygoids can lead to posterior capsular impingements, compression of the neurovascular bundle, clicking or locking joints, ear pain and extra tension in the masseters to compensate.
The patient should be able to comfortably move through left and right excursion with resistance applied to the point of the chin without pain or discomfort. Also look for fatigue signs such as tremors, neck involvement or tongue thrusting. If the Pterygoid is dysfunctional, it is unlikely any other treatment will have a lasting effect as the jaw will remain unstable. This is commonly linked with a failure of the Tongue Differentiation Test and is a good indicator that the primary cause of pain or restriction is the jaw.