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Open access

Christanie Monreal, Lindsay Luinstra, Lindsay Larkins, and James May

Context: Technological advances have given smartphones the capabilities of sensitive clinical measurement equipment at lesser cost and higher availability. The Clinometer is a smartphone application that can be used to measure the joint range of motion in a clinical setting, but psychometric properties of the tool’s use measuring cervical range of motion (CROM) are not established. Objectives: The purpose of this study was to examine the validity and intrarater reliability of the Clinometer application for the measurement of CROM (ie, flexion, extension, rotation, lateral flexion) and to determine the minimal detectable change and SEM. Design: A blinded, repeated-measures correlational design was employed. Setting: The study was conducted collaboratively between 2 athletic training clinics. Participants: A convenience sample of healthy adults ages 18–30 years were recruited. Participants with any history in the last 3 months of cervical or thoracic pathology, pain, or any musculoskeletal injury were excluded. Main Outcome Measures: Three repetitions of each motion were measured by a primary researcher with a goniometer. The same researcher then conducted 3 blinded measurements with the Clinometer application following the same procedure. A second researcher, blinded to the goniometer measurements, recorded the results. Thirty minutes later, testing was repeated with the application. The Pearson correlation was calculated to determine validity of the application compared with goniometry. Results: The measurements between devices had moderate to excellent concurrent validity, with the coefficients ranging between 0.544 and 0.888, P < .01. Test–retest reliability of the CROM measurement using the application was moderate to excellent, with intraclass correlation coefficients ranging between .774 and .928. Across all movements, the SEM ranged from 1.17° to 2.01°, and the minimal detectable change ranged from 1.18° to 2.02°. Conclusion: The Clinometer application is a valid and reliable instrument for measuring active CROM. Level of evidence: clinical measurement, level 1b.

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Matjaž Vogrin, Fiona Novak, Teja Licen, Nina Greiner, Samo Mikl, and Miloš Kalc

Context: Recently, a few papers have suggested that tissue flossing (TF) acutely improves range of motion (ROM) and neuromuscular performance. However, the effects of TF on muscle contractile properties are yet to be defined. Objective: To investigate the acute effects of TF on ankle ROM and associated muscle gastrocnemius medialis displacement and contraction time assessed with tensiomyography. Design: Crossover design in a single session. Setting: University laboratory. Participants: Thirty recreationally trained volunteers (age 23.00 [4.51] y). Intervention: Active ankle plantar flexion and dorsiflexion were performed for the duration of 2 minutes (3 sets, 2-min rest between sets), while a randomly selected ankle was wrapped using TF elastic band (BAND) and the other ankle served as a control condition (CON). Main Outcome Measures: Participants performed an active ankle plantar flexion and dorsiflexion ROM test and muscle gastrocnemius medialis tensiomyography displacement and contraction time measurement pre, 5, 15, 30, and 45 minutes after the floss band application. Results: There were no statistically significant differences between BAND and CON conditions (active ankle plantar flexion ROM: P = .09; active ankle dorsiflexion ROM: P = .85); however, all ROM measurements were associated with medium or large effect sizes in favor of BAND compared with CON. No significant changes were observed in the tensiomyography parameters. Conclusions: The results of this study suggest that TF applied to the ankle is a valid method to increase ROM and at the same time maintaining muscular stiffness.

Open access

Caroline Lisee, Melanie L. McGrath, Christopher Kuenze, Ming Zhang, Matt Salzler, Jeffrey B. Driban, and Matthew S. Harkey

Context: Ultrasound imaging is a clinically feasible tool to assess femoral articular cartilage and may have utility in tracking early knee osteoarthritis development. Traditional assessment techniques focus on measurements at a single location, which can be challenging to adopt for novice raters. Objective: To introduce a novel semiautomated ultrasound segmentation technique and determine the intrarater and interrater reliability of average regional femoral articular cartilage thickness and echo intensity of a novice and expert rater. Design: Descriptive observational study. Setting: Orthopedic clinic. Patients or Other Participants: Fifteen participants (mean [SD]; age 23.5 [4.6] y, height = 172.6 [9.3] cm, mass = 79.8 [15.7] kg) with a unilateral history of anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction participated. Intervention: None. Main Outcome Measures: One rater captured anterior femoral cartilage images of the participants’ contralateral knees using a transverse suprapatellar ultrasound assessment. The total femoral cartilage cross-sectional area of each image was segmented by a novice and expert rater. A novel custom program automatically separated the cartilage segmentations into medial, lateral, and intercondylar regions to determine the cross-sectional area and cartilage length. The average cartilage thickness in each region was calculated by dividing the cross-sectional area by the cartilage length. Echo intensity was calculated as the average gray-scale pixel value of each region. Two-way random effect intraclass correlations coefficient (ICC) for absolute agreement were used to determine the interrater reliability between a novice and expert rater, as well as the intrarater reliability of the novice rater. Results: The novice rater demonstrated excellent intrarater (ICC [2,k] range = .993–.997) and interrater (ICC [2,k] range = .944–.991) reliability with the expert rater of all femoral articular cartilage average thickness and echo intensity regions. Conclusions: The novel semiautomated average cartilage thickness and echo-intensity assessment is efficient, systematic, and reliable between an expert and novice rater with minimal training.