The reliability, minimal detectable change and concurrent validity of a gravity-based bubble inclinometer and iphone application for measuring standing lumbar lordosis

Southeastern Orthopedics Physical Therapy , 3404 Wake Forest Rd, Raleigh, NC , USA .
Physiotherapy Theory and Practice 07/2013; 30(1). DOI: 10.3109/09593985.2013.800174
Source: PubMed


To investigate the reliability, minimal detectable change (MDC90) and concurrent validity of a gravity-based bubble inclinometer (inclinometer) and iPhone® application for measuring standing lumbar lordosis.

Two investigators used both an inclinometer and an iPhone® with an inclinometer application to measure lumbar lordosis of 30 asymptomatic participants.

ICC models 3,k and 2,k were used for the intrarater and interrater analysis, respectively. Good interrater and intrarater reliability was present for the inclinometer with Intraclass Correlation Coefficients (ICC) of 0.90 and 0.85, respectively and the iPhone® application with ICC values of 0.96 and 0.81. The minimal detectable change (MDC90) indicates that a change greater than or equal to 7° and 6° is needed to exceed the threshold of error using the iPhone® and inclinometer, respectively. The concurrent validity between the two instruments was good with a Pearson product-moment coefficient of correlation (r) of 0.86 for both raters. Ninety-five percent limits of agreement identified differences ranging from 9° greater in regards to the iPhone® to 8° less regarding the inclinometer.

Both the inclinometer and iPhone® application possess good interrater reliability, intrarater reliability and concurrent validity for measuring standing lumbar lordosis. This investigation provides preliminary evidence to suggest that smart phone applications may offer clinical utility comparable to inclinometry for quantifying standing lumbar lordosis. Clinicians should recognize potential individual differences when using these devices interchangeably.

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