Validity, Reliability, and Efficiency of a Standard Goniometer, Medical Inclinometer, and Builder’s Inclinometer.
Hanks J, Myers B.
Background: Joint range of motion (ROM) is an important assessment to aid diagnostic and clinical decision-making for persons with a wide variety of neuromusculoskeletal conditions. The current clinical standard for assessing ROM is the standard goniometer (SG).
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to investigate the validity, reliability and time required to assess ROM using a standard goniometer (SG), medical inclinometer (MI), and builder’s digital inclinometer (BI).
Study Design: Cross-sectional study.
Methods: Fifty participants with no current shoulder, elbow, or forearm pain limiting movement were assessed by a single tester. The tester measured three repetitions of passive forearm and shoulder rotation with an SG, MI, and BI. Device order was randomized. Time to complete assessment with each device was measured.
Results: BI and MI were significantly faster than the SG (p < 0.001) for all motions. Inclinometer measurements were more reliable (average ICC = 0.933 for MI and 0.919 for BI) than SG measurements (average ICC = 0.822). There was good correlation between MI and BI and mean differences between devices was less than 2°. Correlations between the SG and the inclinometers ranged from poor to fair and mean differences between devices was 4°.
Conclusion: The BI and MI were reliable for measuring forearm and shoulder rotation. The poor correlation between the SG and inclinometers indicates that clinicians should utilize the same device for testing. Because time can be a barrier to clinician assessment, the greater efficiency and reliability of inclinometers warrants consideration as the new measurement standard. Standard patient and inclinometer positioning is recommended to enhance reliability.
Level of Evidence: 2