Background and Purpose: The measurement properties of handheld dynamometry (HHD) have been studied extensively, but information about the responsiveness of the procedure is scant. The purpose of this study, therefore, was to determine the responsiveness (minimal detectable change [MDC]) for measurements of knee extension force obtained by HHD from older adult patients in 2 different settings.
Methods: This study involved the retrospective retrieval of knee extension force data of the left and right sides from 2 sources (acute rehabilitation [n = 53] and home care [n = 46]). The standard deviation of the forces and the weighted mean intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) from 3 previous studies (ICC = 0.90) were then used to calculate the MDC95%.
Results: The MDC95% ranged from 46.0 to 79.0 N. It was lower for patients measured in a home care setting than for those measured in an acute rehabilitation setting.
Discussion and Conclusions: By describing the MDC for knee extension force obtained by HHD from older adults in 2 settings, this study provides an indication of the changes in force that would have to be surpassed to conclude that a real change in knee extension strength was observed. The MDCs reported have a role in the interpretation of repeated measurements and in setting goals for changes in knee extension force.