Hand-held dynamometry correlation with the gold standard isokinetic dynamometry: a systematic review

PM R. 2011 May;3(5):472-9. doi: 10.1016/j.pmrj.2010.10.025.


Objective: To examine the current evidence regarding the reliability and validity of hand-held dynamometry for assessment of muscle strength in the clinical setting.

Data sources: A search was conducted of the following databases: Cochrane, MEDLINE, PubMed, PEDro, OTseeker, Index to Chiropractic Literature (ICL), and MANTIS, from inception until January 29, 2010.

Study selection: The MeSH subject heading "muscle strength dynamometer" was searched, in isolation and in combination with the text word phrases "hand-held dynamometer" and "isokinetic." Four hundred fifty-four different studies met this search and were reviewed for possible inclusion.

Data extraction: Two independent reviewers assessed the quality of the included manuscripts. The PEDro data collection system was used in conjunction with the Cochrane Diagnostic Test Accuracy Description. A third reviewer was used when there was disagreement between the primary reviewers.

Data synthesis: Seventeen manuscripts met the inclusion criteria for this review, with a total of 19 studies (2 of the manuscripts involved 2 separate studies) that compared hand-held dynamometry with an identified reference standard (isokinetic muscle strength testing). The results demonstrated minimal differences between hand-held dynamometry and isokinetic testing.

Conclusions: Considering hand-held dynamometry's ease of use, portability, cost, and compact size, compared with isokinetic devices this instrument can be regarded as a reliable and valid instrument for muscle strength assessment in a clinical setting.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Electromyography / methods
  • Equipment Design
  • Humans
  • Muscle Strength Dynamometer* / standards
  • Muscle Weakness / diagnosis*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology
  • Reproducibility of Results