Does repeated palpation-digitization of pelvic landmarks for measurement of innominate motion introduce a systematic error? – A psychometric investigation.

This study investigated palpation-digitization technique for measurement of innominate motion involves repeated manual palpation-digitization of pelvic landmarks, which could introduce a systematic variation between subsequent trials and thereby influence final innominate angular measurement. The aim was to quantify the effect of repeated palpation-digitization errors on overall variability of innominate vector length measurements; and to determine if there is a systematic variation between subsequent repeated trials. A single group repeated measures study, using four testers and fourteen healthy participants, was conducted. Four pelvic landmarks, left and right posterior superior iliac spine and anterior superior iliac spine, were palpated and digitized using 3D digitizing stylus of Polhemus electromagnetic tracking device, for ten consecutive trials by each tester in their random order. The ten individual trials of innominate vector lengths measured by each tester for each participant were used for the analysis.

Repeated measures ANOVA demonstrated a very small effect of repeated trial factor (≤0.66%) as well as error component (≤0.32%) on innominate vector length variability. Further, residual versus order plots demonstrated a random pattern of errors across zero; thus indicating no systematic variation between subsequent trials of innominate vector length measurements.