Reliability of knee joint position sense measurement: a comparison between goniometry and image capture methods

Fiona Irving, Joseph Russell, Toby Smith

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Aims: Evaluate the intra-rater and inter-rater reliability of hand-held goniometry compared to image capture (IMC) in the assessment of joint position sense (JPS) in healthy participants.

Methodology: Repeated-measures observational study design was undertaken with 36 asymptomatic university students of both genders aged between 18 to 45 years. JPS in the knee was assessed by two assessors over two sessions (one-week interval) using hand-held goniometry and IMC methods. Joint position sense was assessed at four target knee flexion angles. Intra- and inter-rater reliability was assessed with absolute error (AE), relative error (RE) and intra-class correlation coefficient.

Findings: Inter-rater reliability for goniometry was poor to substantial (ICC: 0.00 to 0.64) and was poor to moderate (ICC: 0.00 to 0.47) for IMC. Intra-rater reliability for goniometry was poor to moderate (ICC: 0.00 to 0.42) and poor to moderate for IMC (ICC: 0.00 to 0.41). AE for goniometry ranged from 3.2° to 8.6°, with RE from 0.1°-8.3°. For IMC, AE for goniometry was 5.3° to 12.5°, with RE ranging from 0.1° to 11.1°.

Principal Conclusions: Neither goniometry nor IMC appeared superior to the other in JPS assessment. Caution should be made when considering the reliability for goniometry and IMC before clinical assessment is made.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-102
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Physiotherapy
Issue number2
Early online date8 Jan 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Measurement
  • knee
  • proprioception
  • range of motion
  • angle

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