A systematic review to determine the reliability of knee joint position sense assessment measures.
ABSTRACT BACKGROUND: The assessment of joint position sense (JPS) is the most widely used measurement of knee proprioceptive capability within the literature. However, it remains unclear what the most reliable method is to assess this. The purpose of this study was to determine the intra- and inter-rater reliability of the various methods used to assess knee JPS. METHODS: A systematic review of published and unpublished literature sources was conducted up to June 2012. All studies principally assessing the reliability (intra- or inter-rater) or reproducibility of a JPS of the knee were included. The methodological quality of each study was reviewed using the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme tool. RESULTS: A total of 18 studies were eligible, assessing the reliability of JPS with 456 knees. The reliability of four methods of JPS has been recorded: position replication using a model, image recorded angulation, electrogoniometry and dynamometry/angular motion chair. Intra-rater reliability was good for the assessment of JPS using photographs and digital images, and replicating knee position using a paper model, this was good but variable when electrogoniometry was used, and moderate but variable when assessed using dynamometry/angle motion chairs. The assessment of JPS by image recorded angulation, electrogoniometry and dynamometry/angular motion chair has demonstrated good inter-rater reliability. CONCLUSIONS: Whilst JPS methods appear to have variable reliability, the four assessment methods should be further assessed with pathological populations such as those following patellar dislocation or anterior cruciate ligament rupture. This will better facilitate the generalisability of JPS assessment methods to inform clinical practice.