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J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 1993 Oct;18(4):543-52.

Reliability of dynamic and isometric testing of shoulder external and internal rotators.

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Physical Therapy Associates, Worcester, MA 01605.


Advances in isokinetic technology allow the physical therapist to assess concentric, eccentric, and isometric muscle performance at the shoulder in various positions. Research is limited, however, on the reliability of isokinetic measurements. The purposes of this study were: 1) to determine the test-retest reliability of concentric, eccentric, and isometric muscle performance measurements of shoulder external and internal rotation in the scapular plane test position and 2) to compare this reliability between the involved and uninvolved limb of subjects with a history of unilateral shoulder pathology. Fourteen males and 10 females (17-58 years) were tested on two occasions at 1-week intervals with the Biodex isokinetic dynamometer. Peak torque, total work, and average power were recorded for concentric tests at angular velocities of 60 and 120 degrees/sec and for eccentric tests at 60 degrees/sec. Maximum average isometric torque was recorded in two positions. Means, standard deviations, and mean differences between sessions with 95% confidence intervals were calculated. Intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs) were used to determine test-retest reliability. Isometric tests were generally most reliable (ICC = .81-.93), followed by concentric (ICC = .60-.95) and eccentric tests (ICC = .44-.92). Isokinetic and isometric reliability were usually higher for involved than uninvolved shoulders. The implication of these findings is that there appears to be greater variability with eccentric than concentric or isometric testing of shoulder rotation. Factors that possibly contributed to variability are discussed. Clinicians should recognize potential sources of testing error when obtaining isokinetic measurements for use in clinical decision-making. Further refinement of isokinetic testing protocols at the shoulder is recommended.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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