Inter-tester reliability and precision of manual muscle testing and hand-held dynamometry in lower limb muscles of children with spina bifida.

Mahony K, Hunt A, Daley D, Sims S, Adams R

The purpose of this study was to compare the reliability and measurement precision of manual muscle testing (MMT) and hand-held dynamometry (HHD) for children with spina bifida. Strength measures were obtained of the hip flexors, hip abductors, and knee extensors of 20 children. Inter-tester reliability for HHD  indicated excellent reliability for the three muscle groups. Inter-tester reliability for MMT for the hip abductor muscle group, indicated good reliability.

The results suggest a situation-specific solution to the question of which method to use. To detect small strength changes over time in children with spina bifida, MMT should be used when the child has insufficient strength to move the limb against gravity; otherwise, HHD should be used.

Physical and Occupational Therapy in Paediatrics, 2009, 29(1), 44-59

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