Department of Physical Therapy Student Theses, Dissertations and Capstones

Document Type

Thesis - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Master of Physical Therapy (MPT)

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College of Health Care Sciences - Physical Therapy Department

Publication Date / Copyright Date



Nova Southeastern University


Purpose: To investigate interrater and intrarater reliability of the force applied to reach end-feel during passive knee flexion in a clinical setting. Also, to contribute to the analysis of distinct influences pertaining to different sources of error regarding goniometric reliability.

Subjects: 10 second-year graduate physical therapy students (5 male and 5 female) having no reported knee pathology were selected as subjects in a sample of convenience.

Methods: Subjects were placed in the prone position on plinths as 4 assessors (2 male and 2 female) performed 3 trials each of passive knee flexion until end-range was determined. The raters measured the force they applied to reach end-range with a hand-held dynamometer strapped to the back of their hand in 2 sessions. Angular measurements were also obtained using an electronic goniometer.

Results: Intraclass Correlation Coefficient (ICC) for force and angle both between and within assessors yielded mixed results. ICC results for interrater and intrarater reliability of force were r=0.060 and r=0.441, respectively. ICC results for interrater and intrarater reliability of goniometric angle were r=0.709 and r=0.894, respectively. ICC's obtained over the r=0.700 value were considered reliable.

Conclusions: Raters used different and unreliable force between and within themselves when passively measuring knee flexion with a goniometer in conjunction with a hand-held dynamometer. Intrarater reliability for the angle achieved was only moderately reliable, where intrarater reliability for angle achieved was found to be high. Although a positive correlation was found between force used and angle obtained, it was very weak. Further research in the area of hand-held dynamometry is needed to substantiate these data.


Physical Therapy

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