The Myotonometer: Not a Valid Measurement Tool for Active Hamstring Musculotendinous Stiffness

in Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
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Context:

Hamstring musculotendinous stiffness (MTS) is associated with lower-extremity injury risk (ie, hamstring strain, anterior cruciate ligament injury) and is commonly assessed using the damped oscillatory technique. However, despite a preponderance of studies that measure MTS reliably in laboratory settings, there are no valid clinical measurement tools. A valid clinical measurement technique is needed to assess MTS and permit identification of individuals at heightened risk of injury and track rehabilitation progress.

Objective:

To determine the validity and reliability of the Myotonometer for measuring active hamstring MTS.

Design:

Descriptive laboratory study.

Setting:

Laboratory

Participants:

33 healthy participants (15 men, age 21.33 ± 2.94 y, height 172.03 ± 16.36 cm, mass 74.21 ± 16.36 kg).

Main Outcome Measures:

Hamstring MTS was assessed using the damped oscillatory technique and the Myotonometer. Intraclass correlations were used to determine the intrasession, intersession, and interrater reliability of the Myotonometer. Criterion validity was assessed via Pearson product–moment correlation between MTS measures obtained from the Myotonometer and from the damped oscillatory technique.

Results:

The Myotonometer demonstrated good intrasession (ICC3,1 = .807) and interrater reliability (ICC2,k = .830) and moderate intersession reliability (ICC2,k = .693). However, it did not provide a valid measurement of MTS compared with the damped oscillatory technique (r = .346, P = .061).

Conclusions:

The Myotonometer does not provide a valid measure of active hamstring MTS. Although the Myotonometer does not measure active MTS, it possesses good reliability and portability and could be used clinically to measure tissue compliance, muscle tone, or spasticity associated with multiple musculoskeletal disorders. Future research should focus on portable and clinically applicable tools to measure active hamstring MTS in efforts to prevent and monitor injuries.

Pamukoff is with the Dept of Kinesiology, California State University, Fullerton, Fullerton, CA. Bell, Ryan, and Blackburn are with the Dept of Exercise and Sport Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC.

Address author correspondence to Derek Pamukoff at dpamukoff@fullerton.edu.