Background: Outcome measures are important when evaluating treatments and physiological progress in paediatric populations. Reliable, relevant measures of foot posture are important for such assessments to be accurate over time. The aim of the study was to assess the intra- and inter-rater reliability of common outcome measures for paediatric foot conditions.
Methods: A repeated measures, same-subject design assessed the intra- and inter-rater reliability of measures of foot posture, joint hypermobility and ankle range: the Foot Posture Index (FPI-6), the ankle lunge test, the Beighton scale and the lower limb assessment scale (LLAS), used by two examiners in 30 healthy children (aged 7 to 15 years). The Oxford Ankle Foot Questionnaire (OxAFQ-C) was completed by participants and a parent, to assess the extent of foot and ankle problems.
Results: The OxAFQ-C demonstrated a mean (SD) score of 6 (6) in adults and 7(5) for children, showing good agreement between parents and children, and which indicates mid-range (transient) disability. Intra-rater reliability was good for the FPI-6 (ICC = 0.93 - 0.94), ankle lunge test (ICC = 0.85-0.95), Beighton scale (ICC = 0.96-0.98) and LLAS (ICC = 0.90-0.98). Inter-rater reliability was largely good for each of the: FPI-6 (ICC = 0.79), ankle lunge test (ICC = 0.83), Beighton scale (ICC = 0.73) and LLAS (ICC = 0.78).
Conclusion: The four measures investigated demonstrated adequate intra-rater and inter-rater reliability in this paediatric sample, which further justifies their use in clinical practice.