Reliability of Lower Extremity Girth Measurements and Right- and Left-Side Differences

in Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
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The purpose of this two-part study was to determine if lower extremity girth measurements are repeatable. Sixteen males and 14 females participated in the intra- and intertester reliability portion of this study. Girth was assessed at five different lower extremity sites by two physical therapists using a standard tape measure. Thirty measures (15 by each examiner) were collected on the subject's right leg, and a mean of the three measures was used in the analysis. The measurements were repeated 7 days later. It was found that by using a simple standardized procedure, girth measurements in the clinic can be highly repeatable in experienced clinicians. Part 2 of the study involved testing the right and left legs of 22 subjects to determine if girth of the right and left legs was similar. All subjects had their girth assessed at five sites on their right and left legs during one session. It was found that girth measures on the right and left lower extremities are comparable. In an acutely injured lower extremity, it might be assumed that the girth of both lower extremities is similar.

Whitney is with the Departments of Physical Therapy and Otolaryngology, School of Health and Rehabilitation Science, University of Pittsburgh, 101 Pennsylvania Hall, Pittsburgh, PA 15231. Mattocks is with Penn-Ohio Rehabilitation, Hermitage, PA 16148. Irrgang is with the Department of Physical Therapy, the Department of Orthopedic Surgery, and Outpatient PT and Sports Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA 15213. Gentile is with T.R.A.C. Physical Therapy, Erie, PA 16509. Pezzullo is with the University of Pittsburgh School of Health and Rehabilitation Science and PT IV, Center for Sports Medicine, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA 15213. Kamkar is with Dubai Police Clinic, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.