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Clinical Tests of Ankle Plantarflexor Strength Do Not Predict Ankle Power Generation During Walking

Kahn, Michelle B App Sci; Williams, Gavin PhD, FACP

American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation: February 2015 - Volume 94 - Issue 2 - p 114–122
doi: 10.1097/PHM.0000000000000196
Original Research Articles
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Objective The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between a clinical test of ankle plantarflexor strength and ankle power generation (APG) at push-off during walking.

Design This is a prospective cross-sectional study of 102 patients with traumatic brain injury.

Outcome Measures Handheld dynamometry was used to measure ankle plantarflexor strength. Three-dimensional gait analysis was performed to quantify ankle power generation at push-off during walking.

Results Ankle plantarflexor strength was only moderately correlated with ankle power generation at push-off (r = 0.43, P < 0.001; 95% confidence interval, 0.26–0.58). There was also a moderate correlation between ankle plantarflexor strength and self-selected walking velocity (r = 0.32, P = 0.002; 95% confidence interval, 0.13–0.48).

Conclusions Handheld dynamometry measures of ankle plantarflexor strength are only moderately correlated with ankle power generation during walking. This clinical test of ankle plantarflexor strength is a poor predictor of calf muscle function during gait in people with traumatic brain injury.

From the Epworth Hospital, Melbourne, Australia (MK, GW); The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia (GW); and La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia (GW).

All correspondence and requests for reprints should be addressed to: Michelle Kahn, B App Sci, Physiotherapy Department, Epworth Hospital, 89 Bridge Rd, Richmond, 3121, Victoria, Australia.

Financial disclosure statements have been obtained, and no conflicts of interest have been reported by the authors or by any individuals in control of the content of this article.

Copyright © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.