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doi: 10.3810/psm.2010.06.1783
The Physician and Sportsmedicine: Volume 38: No.2
Clinical Evaluation of a New Noninvasive Ankle Arthrometer
Tanja Nauck, MA; Heinz Lohrer, MD; And Albert Gollhofer, PhD
Abstract: Introduction A nonradiographic arthrometer was developed to objectively quantify anterior talar drawer instability in stable and unstable ankles. Diagnostic validity of this device was previously demonstrated in a cadaver study. The aim of the present study was to validate the ankle arthrometer in an in vivo setting. Methods Twenty-three subjects participated in the study. An orthopedic surgeon first performed a manual anterior talar drawer test to classify the subjects’ ankles as stable or unstable. The subjects were then evaluated using the ankle arthrometer, and filled out a validated self-reported questionnaire (German version of the Foot and Ankle Ability Measure [FAAM-G]). Ankle stiffness was calculated from the low linear region (40–60 N) of the load deformation curves obtained from the ankle arthrometer. Reliability testing of these stiffness values was done based on load deformation curves, with 150 and 200 N maximum anterior drawer loads applied in the ankle arthrometer. Results Using the manual anterior drawer test, 16 ankles were classified as stable and 7 were classified as unstable. Arthrometer stiffness analysis differentiated stable from unstable ankles (P = 0.00 and P = 0.01, respectively). Test-retest demonstrated an accurate reliability (intraclass correlation coefficient = 0.80). A significant correlation was found between both FAAM-G subscales and the arthrometer stiffness values (r = 0.43 and 0.54; P = 0.04 and 0.01). Discussion Subjects with and without mechanical ankle instability could be differentiated by ankle arthrometer stiffness analysis and the FAAM-G questionnaire results. This nonradiographic device may be relevant for screening athletes at risk for ankle injuries, for clinical follow-up studies, and implementing preventive strategies. Conclusion Validity and reliability of the new ankle arthrometer is demonstrated in a small cohort in an in vivo setting.

Keywords: lateral ankle instability; validation; in vivo; ankle arthrometer

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