Assessment of Upper Limb Neuromuscular Control via a Target-Pointing Task: A Reliability Study

in Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
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Objective:

To examine the accuracy and reliability of upper limb target pointing among normal subjects.

Design:

Prospective observational.

Setting:

Community sports-medicine practice.

Participants:

28 male and female normal right-handed volunteers age 22–35 years.

Intervention:

8-point target-pointing task completed with both upper limbs.

Main Outcome Measures:

Accuracy of point reproduction (cm error) and reliability over time (ICC2,1).

Results:

Target-pointing errors were 4.8–9.9 cm. Subject error and reach height explained 88% of performance variability. Error was greater when pointing to the lower half of the target (P < .05) and to ipsilateral points (P < .05). Gender, test day, reach length, and arm dominance did not affect accuracy. Test–retest reliability ranged from .30 to .71.

Conclusion:

Target-pointing tasks might be useful to assess upper limb neuromuscular control. Points with lower errors and greater reliabilities might be useful to differentiate normal vs abnormal performances, whereas a battery of reliable points over a spectrum of errors might be useful to document changes over time.

Moreale, Smith, and Dahm are with the Mayo Medical School, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN 55905. Krause is with the Mayo Physical Therapy School, Rochester, MN 55905.

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