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The Association Between Visual Assessment of Quality of Movement and Three-Dimensional Analysis of Pelvis, Hip, and Knee Kinematics During a Lateral Step Down Test

Rabin, Alon; Portnoy, Sigal; Kozol, Zvi

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: November 2016 - Volume 30 - Issue 11 - p 3204–3211
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000001420
Original Research

Rabin, A, Portnoy, S, and Kozol, Z. The association between visual assessment of quality of movement and three-dimensional analysis of pelvis, hip, and knee kinematics during a lateral step down test. J Strength Cond Res 30(11): 3204–3211, 2016—Altered movement patterns including contralateral pelvic drop, increased hip adduction, knee abduction, and external rotation have been previously implicated in several lower extremity pathologies. Although various methods exist for assessing movement patterns, real-time visual observation is the most readily available method. The purpose of this study was to determine whether differing visual ratings of trunk, pelvis, and knee alignment, as well as overall quality of movement, are associated with differences in 3-dimensional trunk, pelvis, hip, or knee kinematics during a lateral step down test. Trunk, pelvis, and knee alignment of 30 healthy participants performing the lateral step down were visually rated as “good” or “faulty” based on previously established criteria. An additional categorization of overall quality of movement as either good or moderate was performed based on the aggregate score of each individual rating criterion. Three-dimensional motion analysis of trunk, pelvis, hip, and knee kinematics was simultaneously performed. A faulty pelvis alignment displayed a greater peak contralateral pelvic drop (effect size [ES], 1.65; p < 0.01) and a greater peak hip adduction (ES: 1.04, p = 0.01) compared with participants with a good pelvis alignment. Participants with a faulty knee alignment displayed greater peak knee external rotation compared with participants with a good knee alignment (ES, 0.78; p = 0.02). Participants with an overall moderate quality of movement displayed increased peak contralateral pelvic drop (ES, 1.07; p = 0.01) and peak knee external rotation (ES, 0.72; p = 0.04) compared with those with an overall good quality of movement. Visual rating of quality of movement during a lateral step down test, as performed by an experienced physical therapist, is associated with differences in several kinematics previously implicated in various pathologies.

1Department of Physiotherapy, Ariel University, Ariel, Israel;

2Department of Occupational Therapy, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel; and

3Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Hadassah Medical Center, Jerusalem, Israel

Address correspondence to Dr. Alon Rabin,

Copyright © 2016 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.