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October 2020

Reliability of Myotonometric Measurement of Stiffness in Patients with Spinal Cord Injury

Authors: Jun-Sheng Ge 1, Tian-Tian Chang 2, Zhi-Jie Zhang 3

Author information:

  1. Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Dapeng New District Nan’ao People’s Hospital, Shenzhen, Guangdong, P.R. China
  2. Department of Sport Rehabilitation, Shanghai University of Sport, Shanghai, P.R. China
  3. Rehabilitation Therapy Center, Orthopedic Hospital of Henan Province, Luoyang, Henan, P.R. China

Journal: Medical Science Monitor - July 2020, 26: e924811-1–e924811-7 (DOI: 10.12659/MSM.924811)

We found excellent intraoperator and interoperator reliability in the stiffness of the gastrocnemius and the AT using the MyotonPRO, as well as relatively low values of SEM and MDC.

Our findings from this study support that MyotonPRO is reliable for evaluating stiffness of the medial and lateral heads of the gastrocnemius and the AT in subjects with SCI.

Background: Contracture is related to modulation of passive stiffness in muscle and tendon after spinal cord injury (SCI). Current clinical assessments of stiffness in muscles and tendons are subjective in patients with spinal cord injury. We proposed a quantitative method to evaluate stiffness of the gastrocnemius and Achilles tendon (AT) with a portable device, the MyotonPRO. The purpose of this study was to investigate the intraoperator and interoperator reliability of the MyotonPRO when used in patients after spinal cord injury.

Material/Methods: Fourteen patients with SCI participated in this study. Gastrocnemius stiffness and AT stiffness were measured with the MyotonPRO.

Results: In participants with SCI, the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) values for intraoperator and interoperator reliability of stiffness measurements in the gastrocnemius and AT were excellent (all ICC >0.87), with relatively low values for standard error measurement (SEM) and minimal detectable change (MDC).

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that use of the MyotonPRO is feasible for evaluating stiffness of the gastrocnemius and AT in the lower limbs of patients with spinal cord injury.

Keywords: Achilles Tendon, Elastic Tissue, Spinal Cord Injuries

This study assessed intraoperator and interoperator reliability of the MyotonPRO when used for patients with SCI, and it confirmed the reliability of the MyotonPRO for measuring muscle and tendon stiffness in this population. The standard error measurement (SEM) and the minimal detectable change (MDC) of stiffness measurements should be used in future clinical evaluations.

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