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Quantifying the strength of the intrinsic foot muscles has been a challenge for clinicians and researchers. The reliable measurement of this strength is important in order to assess weakness, which may contribute to a variety of functional issues in the foot and lower leg, including plantar fasciitis and hallux valgus. This study reports 3 novel methods for measuring foot strength – doming (previously unmeasured), hallux flexion, and flexion of the lesser toes.
Twenty-one healthy volunteers performed the strength tests during two testing sessions which occurred one to five days apart. Each participant performed each series of strength tests (doming, hallux flexion, and lesser toe flexion) four times during the first testing session (twice with each of two raters) and two times during the second testing session (once with each rater). Intra-class correlation coefficients were calculated to test for reliability for the following comparisons: between raters during the same testing session on the same day (inter-rater, intra-day, intra-session), between raters on different days (inter-rater, inter-day, inter-session), between days for the same rater (intra-rater, inter-day, inter-session), and between sessions on the same day by the same rater (intra-rater, intra-day, inter-session).
ICCs showed good to excellent reliability for all tests between days, raters, and sessions. Average doming strength was 99.96 ± 47.04 N. Average hallux flexion strength was 65.66 ± 24.5 N. Average lateral toe flexion was 50.96 ± 22.54 N.
These simple tests using relatively low cost equipment can be used for research or clinical purposes. If repeated testing will be conducted on the same participant, it is suggested that the same researcher or clinician perform the testing each time for optimal reliability.
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- Reliability of doming and toe flexion testing to quantify foot muscle strength
Sarah Trager Ridge
J. William Myrer
Mark T. Olsen
A. Wayne Johnson
- BioMed Central