Objective: To determine the performance of a newly developed examination chair as compared with the clinical standard of assessing internal rotation (IR) of the flexed hip with a goniometer.
Methods: The examination chair allowed measurement of IR in a sitting position simultaneously in both hips, with hips and knees flexed 90 degrees, lower legs hanging unsupported and a standardized load of 5 kg applied to both ankles using a bilateral pulley system. Clinical assessment of IR was performed in supine position with hips and knees flexed 90 degrees using a goniometer. Within the framework of a population-based inception cohort study, we calculated inter-observer agreement in two samples of 84 and 64 consecutive, unselected young asymptomatic males using intra-class correlation coefficients (ICC) and determined the correlation between IR assessed with examination chair and clinical assessment.
Results: Inter-observer agreement was excellent for the examination chair (ICC right hip, 0.92, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.89-0.95; ICC left hip, 0.90, 95% CI 0.86-0.94), and considerably higher than that seen with clinical assessment (ICC right hip, 0.65, 95% CI 0.49-0.77; ICC left hip, 0.69, 95% CI 0.54-0.80, P for difference in ICC between examination chair and clinical assessment <or=0.001). The average range of motion (ROM) obtained with examination chair and clinical assessment were similar (difference 1.1 degrees, 95% CI - 0.7-2.8 degrees, P=0.23), and the correlation was strong (Pearson's coefficient, 0.75, 95% CI 0.62-0.84).
Conclusions: The use of the examination chair resulted in a precise assessment of hip IR in our population-based inception cohort study of young asymptomatic males. It was strongly correlated with standard clinical assessment of IR but was considerably more reliable.
Copyright 2009 Osteoarthritis Research Society International. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.