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Jillian L. Hawkins and Clare E. Milner

Differences in walking biomechanics between groups or conditions should be greater than the measurement error to be considered meaningful. Reliability and minimum detectable differences (MDDs) have not been determined for lower-extremity angles and moments during walking within a session, as needed for interpreting differences in cross-sectional studies. Thus, the purpose of this study was to determine within-session reliability and MDDs for peak ankle, knee, and hip angles and moments during walking. Three-dimensional gait analysis was used to record walking at 1.25 m/s (±5%) in 18 men, 18–50 years of age. Peak angles and moments were calculated for 2 sets of 3 trials. Intraclass correlation coefficients (3, 3) were used to determine within-session reliability. In addition, MDDs were calculated. Within-session reliability was good to excellent for all variables. The MDDs ranged from 0.9° to 3.6° for joint angles and 0.06 to 0.15 N·m/kg for joint moments. Within-session reliability for peak ankle, knee, and hip angles and moments was better than the between-session reliability reported previously. Overall, our MDDs were similar or smaller than those previously reported for between-session reliability. The authors recommend using these MDDs to aid in the interpretation of cross-sectional comparisons of lower-extremity biomechanics during walking in healthy men.

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Kevin G. Aubol, Jillian L. Hawkins, and Clare E. Milner

Measurements of tibial acceleration during running must be reliable to ensure valid results and reduce errors. The purpose of this study was to determine the reliability and minimal detectable difference (MDD) of peak axial and peak resultant tibial acceleration during overground and treadmill running. The authors also compared reliability and MDDs when peak tibial accelerations were determined by averaging 5 or 10 trials. Tibial acceleration was measured during overground and treadmill running of 19 participants using a lightweight accelerometer mounted to the tibia. Peak axial and peak resultant tibial accelerations were determined for each trial. Intraclass correlation coefficients determined within-session reliability, and MDDs were also calculated. Within-session reliability was excellent for all conditions (intraclass correlation coefficients  = .95–.99). The MDDs ranged from 0.6 to 1.4 g for peak axial acceleration and from 1.6 to 2.0 g for peak resultant acceleration and were lowest for peak axial tibial acceleration during overground running. Averaging 10 trials did not improve reliability compared to averaging 5 trials but did result in small reductions in MDDs. For peak axial tibial acceleration only, lower MDDs indicate that overground running may be the better option for detecting small differences.