The second part of my study utilizes handheld dynamometry to measure strength at the hip. We are comparing traditional manual muscle testing techniques with handheld dynamometry (clinician providing the resistance) to manual muscle testing techniques with handheld dynamometry against an immovable brace. The aim of this study is to determine a more reliable MMT technique to provide objective measures of strength.
This is important for Athletic Trainers because as we continue to lobby for insurance reimbursement we need to have specific and accurate patient outcome measurements. Without these specific measurements we have no record of patient improvement during the rehabilitation process. The current methods we utilize (standard goniometry and grading on a 1-5 strength scale) can be subjective and may not have strong inter- and intra-rater reliability. If we can demonstrate that we are providing more accurate and reliable measurements of range of motion and strength we can provide insurance companies the objectivity which they are looking for in patient outcome improvements.
The underlying theme of my thesis is that the profession should continue to adapt and utilize technology to improve patient care. Both of the aforementioned techniques help us move in that direction. When the technology is available and empirically examined, we need to adapt and give ourselves the best opportunity to provide the best patient care. I hope that this research lead to more clinicians utilizing technology appropriately in patient evaluation to improve and measure patient progress.
Justin Police, LAT, ATC