Sources of Variability in Musculo-Articular Stiffness MeasurementReport as inadecuate

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The assessment of musculo-articular stiffness MAS with the free-oscillation technique is a popular method with a variety of applications. This study examined the sources of variability load applied and frequency of oscillation when MAS is assessed.Over two testing occasions, 14 healthy men 27.7±5.2 yr, 1.82±0.04 m, 79.5±8.4 kg were measured for isometric maximum voluntary contraction and MAS of the knee flexors using submaximal loads relative to the individual-s maximum voluntary contraction MAS%MVC and a single absolute load MASABS.As assessment load increased, MAS%MVC coefficient of variation CV  =  8.1–12.1%; standard error of measurement SEM  =  51.6–98.8 Nm−1 and frequency CV  =  4.8–7.0%; SEM  =  0.060–0.075 s−1 variability increased consequently. Further, similar levels of variability arising from load CV  =  6.7% and frequency CV  =  4.8–7.0% contributed to the overall MAS%MVC variability. The single absolute load condition yielded better reliability scores for MASABS CV  =  6.5%; SEM  =  40.2 Nm−1 and frequency CV  =  3.3%; SEM  =  0.039 s−1.Low and constant loads for MAS assessment, which are particularly relevant in the clinical setting, exhibited superior reliability compared to higher loads expressed as a percentage of maximum voluntary contraction, which are more suitable for sporting situations. Appropriate sample size and minimum detectable change can therefore be determined when prospective studies are carried out.

Author: Massimiliano Ditroilo , Mark Watsford, Aron Murphy, Giuseppe De Vito



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