The inter-examiner reliability of motion palpation to detect joint dysfunction in hindfoot and midfoot joints
Williams, Lisa Jane
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The aim of this study was to determine the inter-examiner reliability of motion palpation to detect joint dysfunction in hindfoot and midfoot joints of asymptomatic feet and feet with chronic ankle instability syndrome. The rationale for this study was that motion palpation is a commonly used assessment tool that is used by the chiropractic profession to detect the need for manipulation of the spine and extremities. Also until the reliability of motion palpation is known, other studies using motion palpation as an assessment tool to detect the need for manipulation in the hindfoot and midfoot are questionable. The study was conducted at Durban University of Technology (DUT). Patients that responded to the adverts were then screened via telephonic interview. The researcher performed a case history, physical examination and a foot and ankle regional examination on each patient. Three masters chiropractic students then independently assessed both the symptomatic and asymptomatic feet of each patient and recorded their results. The data was then statistically analysed using SPSS version 15. It was found that the inter-examiner reliability of motion palpation for detecting restrictions in feet with chronic ankle instability syndrome was fair and for detecting instability, there was moderate reliability. In the asymptomatic group the examiners showed to have poor reliability in detecting restrictions and moderate reliability in detecting instability. Inter-examiner reliability was better in the symptomatic group and in this group examiners had more agreement on detecting instability as opposed to restrictions. This study has showed that inter-examiner reliability ranged from poor to moderate in the symptomatic and asymptomatic group with the reliability ranging from poor to moderate. Therefore, one can conclude that motion palpation can be used as an assessment tool to detect joint dysfunction in hindfoot and midfoot joints. However, further studies are warranted to address other subjective and objective measurements such as tenderness and range of motion together with motion palpation.