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Reliability and Accuracy of Biomechanical Measurements of the Lower Extremities

Bart Van Gheluwe Associate Professor of Biomechanics, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Laboratory of Biomechanics, Fac. LK, Pleinlaan 2, 1050 Brussels, Belgium.

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Kevin A. Kirby Assistant Clinical Professor of Biomechanics, California College of Podiatric Medicine, San Francisco.

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Philip Roosen Assistant Professor of Clinical Biomechanics, School of Physiotherapy and Podiatry, Katholieke Hogeschool Oost-Vlaanderen, Gent, Belgium.

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Robert D. Phillips Director of Primary Podiatric Medical Residency, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Coatesville, PA.

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The reliability of biomechanical measurements of the lower extremities, as they are commonly used in podiatric practice, was quantified by means of intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs). This was done not only to evaluate interrater and intrarater reliability but also to provide an estimate for the accuracy of the measurements. The measurement protocol involved 30 asymptomatic subjects and five raters of varying experience. Each subject was measured twice by the same rater, with the retest immediately following the test. The study demonstrated that the interrater ICCs were quite low (≤0.51), except for the measurements of relaxed calcaneal stance position and forefoot varus (both 0.61 and 0.62 for left and right, respectively). However, the intrarater ICCs were relatively high (>0.8) for most raters and measurement variables. Measurement accuracy was moderate between raters. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 92(6): 317-326, 2002)

The opinions and assertions contained herein are the private views of the authors and are not to be construed as official or as reflecting the views of the Department of Veterans Affairs or any other representative or department of the US government.

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