Background: Active inversion and eversion ankle range of motion (ROM) is widely used to evaluate treatment effect, however the error associated with the available measurement protocols is unknown. This study aimed to establish the reliability of goniometry as used in clinical practice.
Methods: 30 subjects (60 ankles) with a wide variety of ankle conditions participated in this study. Three observers, with different skill levels, measured active inversion and eversion ankle ROM three times on each of two days. Measurements were performed with subjects positioned (a) sitting and (b) prone. Intra-class correlation coefficients (ICC[2,1]) were calculated to determine intra- and inter-observer reliability.
Results: Within session intra-observer reliability ranged from ICC[2,1] 0.82 to 0.96 and between session intra-observer reliability ranged from ICC[2,1] 0.42 to 0.80. Reliability was similar for the sitting and the prone positions, however, between sessions, inversion measurements were more reliable than eversion measurements. Within session inter-observer measurements in sitting were more reliable than in prone and inversion measurements were more reliable than eversion measurements.
Conclusion: Our findings show that ankle inversion and eversion ROM can be measured with high to very high reliability by the same observer within sessions and with low to moderate reliability by different observers within a session. The reliability of measures made by the same observer between sessions varies depending on the direction, being low to moderate for eversion measurements and moderate to high for inversion measurements in both positions.