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1.  Association between sensory function and medio-lateral knee position during functional tasks in patients with anterior cruciate ligament injury 
Background
Patients with anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury often exhibit reduced movement quality during functional tasks in the form of a knee-medial-to-foot position (KMFP). This movement pattern is suggested to be more common in women than in men, but the possible contributing sensorimotor factors for this altered knee position are poorly studied in these patients. The aim of this study was to evaluate the association between sensory function and medio-lateral knee position during functional tasks in men and women with ACL injury.
Methods
Fifty-one patients (23 women) aged 18–40 years with ACL injury were included in this cross-sectional study. Measures of sensory function were assessed by the threshold to detection of passive motion (TDPM) for knee kinesthesia and by the vibration perception threshold (VPT) for vibration sense. Movement quality was assessed by visual observation of the position of the knee relative to the foot during the following four functional tasks with different degrees of difficulty: the single-limb mini-squat, stair descending, the forward lunge, and the drop-jump. Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient was used to determine the relationship between the sensory measures and the medio-lateral knee position during the functional tasks. Differences in TDPM and/or VPT between subjects with good and poor movement quality were evaluated using the independent t-test. Separate gender analyses were performed.
Results
Worse TDPM was associated with a KMFP during the drop jump in men. Worse VPT at the toe and ankle was associated with a KMFP during stair descending and the forward lunge in women, but no associations were found in men.
Conclusion
Worse kinesthesia, measured by TDPM, might be associated with KMFP during the drop jump in men with ACL injury while worse vibration sense, measured by the VPT, at the foot and ankle might be related to KMFP in women. Further studies are needed to confirm these results.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-15-430
PMCID: PMC4301659  PMID: 25494866
Proprioception; Sensory function; Kinematics; Anterior cruciate ligament; Movement quality
2.  Feasibility of neuromuscular training in patients with severe hip or knee OA: The individualized goal-based NEMEX-TJR training program 
Background
Although improvements are achieved by general exercise, training to improve sensorimotor control may be needed for people with osteoarthritis (OA). The aim was to apply the principles of neuromuscular training, which have been successfully used in younger and middle-aged patients with knee injuries, to older patients with severe hip or knee OA. We hypothesized that the training program was feasible, determined as: 1) at most acceptable self-reported pain following training; 2) decreased or unchanged pain during the training period; 3) few joint specific adverse events related to training, and 4) achieved progression of training level during the training period.
Methods
Seventy-six patients, between 60 and 77 years, with severe hip (n = 38, 55% women) or knee OA (n = 38, 61% women) underwent an individualized, goal-based neuromuscular training program (NEMEX-TJR) in groups for a median of 11 weeks (quartiles 7 to 15) prior to total joint replacement (TJR). Pain was self-reported immediately after each training session on a 0 to 10 cm, no pain to pain as bad as it could be, scale, where 0-2 indicates safe, > 2 to 5 acceptable and > 5 high risk pain. Joint specific adverse events were: not attending or ceasing training because of increased pain/problems in the index joint related to training, and self-reported pain > 5 after training. The level of difficulty of training was registered.
Results
Patients with severe OA of the hip or knee reported safe pain (median 2 cm) after training. Self-reported pain was lower at training sessions 10 and 20 (p = 0.04) and unchanged at training sessions 5 and 15 (p = 0.170, p = 0.161) compared with training session 1. There were no joint specific adverse events in terms of not attending or ceasing training. Few patients (n = 17, 22%) reported adverse events in terms of self-reported pain > 5 after one or more training sessions. Progression of training level was achieved over time (p < 0.001).
Conclusions
The NEMEX-TJR training program is feasible in patients with severe hip or knee OA, in terms of safe self-reported pain following training, decreased or unchanged pain during the training period, few joint specific adverse events, and achieved progression of training level during the training period.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-11-126
PMCID: PMC2896351  PMID: 20565735
3.  Effects of neuromuscular training (NEMEX-TJR) on patient-reported outcomes and physical function in severe primary hip or knee osteoarthritis: a controlled before-and-after study 
Background
The benefits of exercise in mild and moderate knee or hip osteoarthritis (OA) are apparent, but the evidence in severe OA is less clear. We recently reported that neuromuscular training was well tolerated and feasible in patients with severe primary hip or knee OA. The aims of this controlled before-and-after study were to compare baseline status to an age-matched population-based reference group and to examine the effects of neuromuscular training on patient-reported outcomes and physical function in patients with severe primary OA of the hip or knee.
Methods
87 patients (60–77 years) with severe primary OA of the hip (n = 38, 55% women) or knee (n = 49, 59% women) awaiting total joint replacement (TJR) had supervised, neuromuscular training (NEMEX-TJR) in groups with individualized level and progression of training. A reference group (n = 43, 53% women) was included for comparison with patients’ data. Assessments included self-reported outcomes (HOOS/KOOS) and measures of physical function (chair stands, number of knee bends/30 sec, knee extensor strength, 20-meter walk test) at baseline and at follow-up before TJR. Analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was used for comparing patients and references and elucidating influence of demographic factors on change. The paired t-test was used for comparisons within groups.
Results
At baseline, patients reported worse scores than the references in all HOOS/KOOS subscales (hip 27–47%, knee 14–52%, of reference scores, respectively) and had functional limitations (hip 72–85%, knee 42–85%, of references scores, respectively). NEMEX-TJR (mean 12 weeks (SD 5.6) of training) improved self-reported outcomes (hip 9–29%, knee 7–20%) and physical function (hip 3–18%, knee 5–19%) (p < 0.005). Between 42% and 62% of hip OA patients, and 39% and 61% of knee OA patients, displayed a clinically meaningful improvement (≥15%) in HOOS/KOOS subscales by training. The improvement in HOOS/KOOS subscale ADL was greater for patients with knee OA than hip OA, while the improvement in subscale Sport/Rec was greater for patients with hip OA than knee OA.
Conclusions
Both self-reported outcomes and physical function were clearly worse compared with the reference group. Neuromuscular training with an individualized approach and gradual progression showed promise for improving patient-reported outcomes and physical function even in older patients with severe primary OA of the hip or knee.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-14-232
PMCID: PMC3750589  PMID: 23924144
Osteoarthritis; Arthroplasty; Exercise therapy; Patient-reported outcomes; Performance-based measures
4.  Effect of leisure time physical activity on severe knee or hip osteoarthritis leading to total joint replacement: a population-based prospective cohort study 
Background
Studies on leisure time physical activity as risk factor or protective factor for knee or hip osteoarthritis (OA) show divergent results. Longitudinal prospective studies are needed to clarify the association of physical activity with future OA. The aim was to explore in a prospective population-based cohort study the influence of leisure time physical activity on severe knee or hip OA, defined as knee or hip replacement due to OA.
Methods
Leisure time physical activity was reported by 28320 participants (mean age 58 years (SD 7.6), 60% women) at baseline. An overall leisure time physical activity score, taking both duration and intensity of physical activities into account, was created. The most commonly reported activities were also used for analysis. The incidence of knee or hip replacement due to OA over 11 years was monitored by linkage with the Swedish hospital discharge register. Cox’s proportional hazards model (crude and adjusted for potential confounding factors) was used to assess the incidence of total joint replacement, or osteotomy (knee), in separate analyses of leisure time physical activity.
Results
There was no significant overall association between leisure time physical activity and risk for knee or hip replacement due to OA over the 11-year observation time. For women only, the adjusted RR (95% CI) for hip replacement was 0.66 (0.48, 0.89) (fourth vs. first quartile), indicating a lower risk of hip replacement in those with the highest compared with the lowest physical activity. The most commonly reported activities were walking, bicycling, using stairs, and gardening. Walking was associated with a lower risk of hip replacement (adjusted RR 0.76 (95% CI 0.61, 0.94), specifically for women (adjusted RR 0.75 (95% CI 0.57, 0.98)).
Conclusions
In this population-based study of middle-aged men and women, leisure time physical activity showed no consistent overall relationship with incidence of severe knee or hip OA, defined as joint replacement due to OA, over 11 years. For women, higher leisure time physical activity may have a protective role for the incidence of hip replacement. Walking may have a protective role for hip replacement, specifically for women.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-13-73
PMCID: PMC3462680  PMID: 22595023
Osteoarthritis; Arthroplasty; Exercise; Workload; Risk factors
5.  Principles of brain plasticity in improving sensorimotor function of the knee and leg in patients with anterior cruciate ligament injury: a double-blind randomized exploratory trial 
Background
Severe traumatic knee injury, including injury to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), leads to impaired sensorimotor function. Although improvements are achieved by training, impairment often persists. Because good sensorimotor function is associated with better patient-reported function and a potential lower risk of future joint problems, more effective treatment is warranted. Temporary cutaneous anesthesia of adjacent body parts was successfully used on the hand and foot to improve sensorimotor function. The aim of this study was to test whether this principle of brain plasticity could be used on the knee. The hypothesis was that temporary anesthesia of the skin area above and below the knee would improve sensorimotor function of the ipsilateral knee and leg in subjects with ACL injury.
Methods
In this double-blind exploratory study, 39 subjects with ACL injury (mean age 24 years, SD 5.2, 49% women, mean 52 weeks after injury or reconstruction) and self-reported functional limitations and lack of trust in the knee were randomized to temporary local cutaneous application of anesthetic (EMLA®) (n = 20) or placebo cream (n = 19). Fifty grams of EMLA®, or placebo, was applied on the leg 10 cm above and 10 cm below the center of patella, leaving the area around the knee without cream. Measures of sensory function (perception of touch, vibration sense, knee kinesthesia) and motor function (knee muscle strength, hop test) were assessed before and after 90 minutes of treatment with EMLA® or placebo. The paired t-test was used for comparisons within groups and analysis of variance between groups, except for ordinal data where the Wilcoxon signed rank test, or Mann–Whitney test, was used. The number of subjects needed was determined by an a priori sample size calculation.
Results
No statistically significant or clinically relevant differences were seen over time (before vs. after) in the measures of sensory or motor functions in the EMLA® group or in the placebo group. There were no differences between the groups due to treatment effect (EMLA® vs. placebo).
Conclusions
Temporary cutaneous anesthesia of adjacent body parts had no effect in improving sensorimotor function of the knee and leg in subjects with severe traumatic knee ligament injury.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-13-68
PMCID: PMC3441769  PMID: 22574814
6.  Comparison of neuromuscular and quadriceps strengthening exercise in the treatment of varus malaligned knees with medial knee osteoarthritis: a randomised controlled trial protocol 
Background
Osteoarthritis of the knee involving predominantly the medial tibiofemoral compartment is common in older people, giving rise to pain and loss of function. Many people experience progressive worsening of the disease over time, particularly those with varus malalignment and increased medial knee joint load. Therefore, interventions that can reduce excessive medial knee loading may be beneficial in reducing the risk of structural progression. Traditional quadriceps strengthening can improve pain and function in people with knee osteoarthritis but does not appear to reduce medial knee load. A neuromuscular exercise program, emphasising optimal alignment of the trunk and lower limb joints relative to one another, as well as quality of movement performance, while dynamically and functionally strengthening the lower limb muscles, may be able to reduce medial knee load. Such a program may also be superior to traditional quadriceps strengthening with respect to improved pain and physical function because of the functional and dynamic nature. This randomised controlled trial will investigate the effect of a neuromuscular exercise program on medial knee joint loading, pain and function in individuals with medial knee joint osteoarthritis. We hypothesise that the neuromuscular program will reduce medial knee load as well as pain and functional limitations to a greater extent than a traditional quadriceps strengthening program.
Methods/Design
100 people with medial knee pain, radiographic medial compartment osteoarthritis and varus malalignment will be recruited and randomly allocated to one of two 12-week exercise programs: quadriceps strengthening or neuromuscular exercise. Each program will involve 14 supervised exercise sessions with a physiotherapist plus four unsupervised sessions per week at home. The primary outcomes are medial knee load during walking (the peak external knee adduction moment from 3D gait analysis), pain, and self-reported physical function measured at baseline and immediately following the program. Secondary outcomes include the external knee adduction moment angular impulse, electromyographic muscle activation patterns, knee and hip muscle strength, balance, functional ability, and quality-of-life.
Discussion
The findings will help determine whether neuromuscular exercise is superior to traditional quadriceps strengthening regarding effects on knee load, pain and physical function in people with medial knee osteoarthritis and varus malalignment.
Trial Registration
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry reference: ACTRN12610000660088
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-12-276
PMCID: PMC3247187  PMID: 22141334
7.  Validity and inter-rater reliability of medio-lateral knee motion observed during a single-limb mini squat 
Background
Muscle function may influence the risk of knee injury and outcomes following injury. Clinical tests, such as a single-limb mini squat, resemble conditions of daily life and are easy to administer. Fewer squats per 30 seconds indicate poorer function. However, the quality of movement, such as the medio-lateral knee motion may also be important. The aim was to validate an observational clinical test of assessing the medio-lateral knee motion, using a three-dimensional (3-D) motion analysis system. In addition, the inter-rater reliability was evaluated.
Methods
Twenty-five (17 women) non-injured participants (mean age 25.6 years, range 18-37) were included. Visual analysis of the medio-lateral knee motion, scored as knee-over-foot or knee-medial-to-foot by two raters, and 3-D kinematic data were collected simultaneously during a single-limb mini squat. Frontal plane 2-D peak tibial, thigh, and knee varus-valgus angles, and 3-D peak hip internal-external rotation, and knee varus-valgus angles were calculated.
Results
Ten subjects were scored as having a knee-medial-to-foot position and 15 subjects a knee-over-foot position assessed by visual inspection. In 2-D, the peak tibial angle (mean 89.0 (SE 0.7) vs mean 86.3 (SE 0.4) degrees, p = 0.001) and peak thigh angle (mean 77.4 (SE 1.0) vs mean 81.2 (SE 0.5) degrees, p = 0.001) with respect to the horizontal, indicated that the knee was more medially placed than the ankle and thigh, respectively. Thus, the knee was in more valgus (mean 11.6 (SE 1.5) vs 5.0 (SE 0.8) degrees, p < 0.001) in subjects with the knee-medial-to-foot than in those with a knee-over-foot position. In 3-D, the hip was more internally rotated in those with a knee-medial-to-foot than in those with a knee-over-foot position (mean 10.6 (SE 2.1) vs 4.8 (SE 1.8) degrees, p = 0.049), but there was no difference in knee valgus (mean 6.1 (SE 1.8) vs mean 5.0 (SE 1.2) degrees, p = 0.589). The kappa value and percent agreement, respectively, was >0.90 and 96 between raters.
Conclusions
Medio-lateral motion of the knee can reliably be assessed during a single-leg mini-squat. The test is valid in 2-D, while the actual movement, in 3-D, is mainly exhibited as increased internal hip rotation. The single-limb mini squat is feasible and easy to administer in the clinical setting and in research to address lower extremity movement quality.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-11-265
PMCID: PMC2998461  PMID: 21080945
8.  Relationships between postural orientation and self reported function, hop performance and muscle power in subjects with anterior cruciate ligament injury 
Background
Injury to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is associated not only with knee instability and impaired neuromuscular control, but also with altered postural orientation manifested as observable "substitution patterns". However, tests currently used to evaluate knee function in subjects with ACL injury are not designed to assess postural orientation. Therefore, we are in the process of developing an observational test set that measures postural orientation in terms of the ability to stabilize body segments in relation to each other and to the environment. The aim of the present study was to characterise correlations between this novel test set, called the Test for Substitution Patterns (TSP) and commonly used tests of knee function.
Methods
In a blinded set-up, 53 subjects (mean age 30 years, range 20-39, with 2-5 years since ACL injury) were assessed using the TSP, the Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score subscale sport/recreation (KOOS sport/rec), 3 hop tests and 3 muscle power tests. Correlations between the scores of the TSP and the other tests were determined.
Results
Moderate correlations were found between TSP scores and KOOS sport/rec (rs = -0.43; p = 0.001) and between TSP scores and hop test results (rs = -0.40 to -0.46; p ≤ 0.003), indicating that altered postural orientation was associated with worse self-reported KOOS sport/rec function and worse hop performance. No significant correlations were found between TSP scores and muscle power results. Subjects had higher TSP scores on their injured side than on their uninjured side (median 4 and 1 points; interquartile range 2-6 and 0-1.5, respectively; p < 0.0001).
Conclusions
We conclude that the Test for Substitution Patterns is of relevance to the patient and measures a specific aspect of neuromuscular control not quantified by the other tests investigated. We suggest that the TSP may be a valuable complement in the assessment of neuromuscular control in the rehabilitation of subjects with ACL injury.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-11-143
PMCID: PMC2908077  PMID: 20594339
9.  Principles of brain plasticity in improving sensorimotor function of the knee and leg in healthy subjects: A double-blind randomized exploratory trial 
Background
Principles of brain plasticity is used in the treatment of patients with functional limitations to improve sensorimotor function. Training is included in the treatment of knee injury to improve both patient-reported function and sensorimotor function. However, impairment in sensorimotor function often persists despite training. Therefore, it was suggested that training programs need to be more effective to improve sensorimotor function after knee injury. The aim of the current study was to investigate if principles of brain plasticity that have been successfully used on the hand and foot to improve sensorimotor function can be applied on the knee. We hypothesized that temporary anesthesia of the skin area above and below the knee would improve sensorimotor function of the ipsilateral knee and leg.
Methods
In this first double-blind exploratory study, 28 uninjured subjects (mean age 26 years, range 19–34, 50% women) were randomized to temporary local cutaneous application of anesthetic (EMLA®) (n = 14) or placebo cream (n = 14). Fifty grams of EMLA, or placebo, was applied on the leg 10 cm above and 10 cm below the center of patella, leaving the area around the knee without cream. Measures of sensory function (perception of touch, vibration sense, knee kinesthesia) and motor function (knee muscle strength, hop test) were assessed before and after 90 minutes of treatment with EMLA or placebo. The paired t-test was used for comparisons within groups and the independent t-test for comparisons between groups. The number of subjects needed was determined by an a priori sample size calculation.
Results
No statistically significant or clinically relevant differences were seen over time (before vs. after) in the measures of sensory or motor functions in the EMLA group or in the placebo group. There were no differences between the groups due to treatment effect (EMLA vs. placebo).
Conclusion
We found no effect of temporary cutaneous anesthesia on sensorimotor function of the ipsilateral knee and leg in uninjured subjects. The principles used in this study remain to be tested in subjects with knee injury.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-10-99
PMCID: PMC2736924  PMID: 19656355
10.  Test-retest reliability of knee kinesthesia in healthy adults 
Background
Sensory information from mechanoreceptors in the skin, muscles, tendons, and joint structures plays an important role in joint stability. A joint injury can lead to disruption of the sensory system, which can be measured by proprioceptive acuity. When evaluating proprioception, assessment tools need to be reliable. The aim of this study was to assess the test-retest reliability of a device designed to measure knee proprioception.
Methods
Twenty-four uninjured individuals (14 women and 10 men) were examined with regard to test-retest reliability of knee kinesthesia, measured by the threshold to detection of passive motion (TDPM). Measurements were performed towards extension and flexion from the two starting positions, 20 degrees and 40 degrees knee joint flexion, giving four variables. The mean difference between test and retest together with the 95% confidence interval (test 2 minus test 1), the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC2,1), and Bland and Altman graphs with limits of agreement, were used as statistical methods for assessing test-retest reliability.
Results
The intraclass correlation coefficients ranged from 0.59 to 0.70 in all variables except one. No difference was found between test and retest in three of the four TDPM variables. TDPM would need to decrease between 10% and 38%, and increase between 17% and 24% in groups of uninjured subjects to be 95% confident of detecting a real change. The limits of agreement were rather wide in all variables. The variables associated with the 20-degree starting position tended to have higher intraclass correlation coefficients and narrower limits of agreement than those associated with 40 degrees.
Conclusion
Three TDPM variables were considered reliable for observing change in groups of subjects without pathology. However, the limits of agreement revealed that small changes in an individual's performance cannot be detected. The higher intraclass correlation coefficients and the narrower limits of agreement in the variables associated with the starting position of 20 degrees knee joint flexion, indicate that these variables are more reliable than those associated with 40 degrees. We, therefore, recommend that the TDPM be measured with a 20-degree starting position.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-8-57
PMCID: PMC1933427  PMID: 17608920
11.  Balance in single-limb stance after surgically treated ankle fractures: a 14-month follow-up 
Background
The maintenance of postural control is fundamental for different types of physical activity. This can be measured by having subjects stand on one leg on a force plate. Many studies assessing standing balance have previously been carried out in patients with ankle ligament injuries but not in patients with ankle fractures. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether patients operated on because of an ankle fracture had impaired postural control compared to an uninjured age- and gender-matched control group.
Methods
Fifty-four individuals (patients) operated on because of an ankle fracture were examined 14 months postoperatively. Muscle strength, ankle mobility, and single-limb stance on a force-platform were measured. Average speed of centre of pressure movements and number of movements exceeding 10 mm from the mean value of centre of pressure were registered in the frontal and sagittal planes on a force-platform. Fifty-four age- and gender-matched uninjured individuals (controls) were examined in the single-limb stance test only. The paired Student t-test was used for comparisons between patients' injured and uninjured legs and between side-matched legs within the controls. The independent Student t-test was used for comparisons between patients and controls. The Chi-square test, and when applicable, Fisher's exact test were used for comparisons between groups. Multiple logistic regression was performed to identify factors associated with belonging to the group unable to complete the single-limb stance test on the force-platform.
Results
Fourteen of the 54 patients (26%) did not manage to complete the single-limb stance test on the force-platform, whereas all controls managed this (p < 0.001). Age over 45 years was the only factor significantly associated with not managing the test. When not adjusted for age, decreased strength in the ankle plantar flexors and dorsiflexors was significantly associated with not managing the test. In the 40 patients who managed to complete the single-limb stance test no differences were found between the results of patients' injured leg and the side-matched leg of the controls regarding average speed and the number of centre of pressure movements.
Conclusion
One in four patients operated on because of an ankle fracture had impaired postural control compared to an age- and gender-matched control group. Age over 45 years and decreased strength in the ankle plantar flexors and dorsiflexors were found to be associated with decreased balance performance. Further, longitudinal studies are required to evaluate whether muscle and balance training in the rehabilitation phase may improve postural control.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-7-35
PMCID: PMC1450283  PMID: 16597332
12.  The effect of short-duration sub-maximal cycling on balance in single-limb stance in patients with anterior cruciate ligament injury: a cross-sectional study 
Background
It has previously been shown that an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury may lead to impaired postural control, and that the ability to maintain postural control is decreased by fatigue in healthy subjects. To our knowledge, no studies have reported the effect of fatigue on postural control in subjects with ACL injury. This study was aimed at examining the effect of fatigue on balance in single-limb stance in subjects with ACL injury, and to compare the effects, and the ability to maintain balance, with that of a control group of uninjured subjects.
Methods
Thirty-six patients with unilateral, non-operated, non-acute ACL injury, and 24 uninjured subjects were examined with stabilometry before (pre-exercise) and immediately after (post-exercise) short-duration, sub-maximal cycling. In addition, the post-exercise measurements were compared, to evaluate the instantaneous ability to maintain balance and any possible recovery. The amplitude and average speed of center of pressure movements were registered in the frontal and sagittal planes. The paired t-test was used for the intra-group comparisons, and the independent t-test for the inter-group comparisons, with Bonferroni correction for multiple comparisons.
Results
No differences were found in the effects of exercise between the patients and the controls. Analysis of the post-exercise measurements revealed greater effects or a tendency towards greater effects on the injured leg than in the control group. The average speed was lower among the patients than in the control group.
Conclusions
The results of the present study showed no differences in the effects of exercise between the patients and the controls. However, the patients seemed to react differently regarding ability to maintain balance in single-limb stance directly after exercise than the control group. The lower average speed among the patients may be an expression of different neuromuscular adaptive strategies than in uninjured subjects.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-5-44
PMCID: PMC544556  PMID: 15548328
13.  Balance in single-limb stance in healthy subjects – reliability of testing procedure and the effect of short-duration sub-maximal cycling 
Background
To assess balance in single-limb stance, center of pressure movements can be registered by stabilometry with force platforms. This can be used for evaluation of injuries to the lower extremities. It is important to ensure that the assessment tools we use in the clinical setting and in research have minimal measurement error. Previous studies have shown that the ability to maintain standing balance is decreased by fatiguing exercise. There is, however, a need for further studies regarding possible effects of general exercise on balance in single-limb stance. The aims of this study were: 1) to assess the test-retest reliability of balance variables measured in single-limb stance on a force platform, and 2) to study the effect of exercise on balance in single-limb stance, in healthy subjects.
Methods
Forty-two individuals were examined for test-retest reliability, and 24 individuals were tested before (pre-exercise) and after (post-exercise) short-duration, sub-maximal cycling. Amplitude and average speed of center of pressure movements were registered in the frontal and sagittal planes. Mean difference between test and retest with 95% confidence interval, the intraclass correlation coefficient, and the Bland and Altman graphs with limits of agreement, were used as statistical methods for assessing test-retest reliability. The paired t-test was used for comparisons between pre- and post-exercise measurements.
Results
No difference was found between test and retest. The intraclass correlation coefficients ranged from 0.79 to 0.95 in all stabilometric variables except one. The limits of agreement revealed that small changes in an individual's performance cannot be detected. Higher values were found after cycling in three of the eight stabilometric variables.
Conclusions
The absence of systematic variation and the high ICC values, indicate that the test is reliable for distinguishing among groups of subjects. However, relatively large differences in an individual's balance performance would be required to confidently state that a change is real. The higher values found after cycling, indicate compensatory mechanisms intended to maintain balance, or a decreased ability to maintain balance. It is recommended that average speed and DEV 10; the variables showing the best reliability and effects of exercise, be used in future studies.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-4-14
PMCID: PMC166283  PMID: 12831402

Results 1-13 (13)