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EFFECTS OF MEASUREMENT METHOD AND SUBJECT CHARACTERISTICS ON THE FUNCTIONAL REACH TEST IN TYPICALLY DEVELOPING CHILDREN

Volkman, Kathleen G.1; Stergiou, Nicholas2; Stuberg, Wayne1; Blanke, Daniel2; Stoner, Julie A.3

Abstracts: Abstracts of Platform and Poster Presentations for the 2006 Combined Sections Meeting: Poster Presentations
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1Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE, USA (Volkman, Stuberg)

2Health, Physical Education and Recreation, University of Nebraska at Omaha, Omaha, NE, USA (Stergiou, Blanke)

3Preventive and Societal Medicine, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE, USA (Stoner)

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Purpose/Hypothesis:

The purpose was to examine the effects of four measurement methods on the Functional Reach Test (FRT) measure in children using two methods of reach and two methods of measurement: 1 arm finger-to-finger or 1AFF (the traditional method), 2 arm finger-to-finger or 2AFF (hands clasped together), 1 arm toe-to-finger or 1ATF (measured from tip of toes), and 2 arm toe-to-finger or 2ATF. Effects of gender, age, height, lower extremity strategy and base of support (BOS) were also studied. It was hypothesized that the methods would differ from each other and one-arm scores and toe-to-finger scores would be greater. It was expected that scores would increase with age and height, but affects of gender, strategy and BOS were unclear.

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Number of Subjects:

80 Typically Developing Children, Half Male And Half Female, Aged 7–16 Years Were Tested.

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Materials/Methods:

Subjects stood on paper next to a measuring stick positioned at shoulder height. Feet were traced on paper for BOS calculation (length times width of stance). A subject used the same self-selected lower extremity strategy on all tests (either feet flat or heels up). Three trials were measured with the greatest distance score used. Toe-to-finger scores were calculated mathematically from the location of the toes at the 0 point of the measuring stick. Each child was tested using each of the four measurement methods at two different times.

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Results:

Repeated measures ANOVA with pair-wise testing using Tukey's method showed that mean measures from the four methods were significantly different, toe-to-finger scores being greater than finger-to-finger scores (P < 0.001 for one-arm and two-arm methods). One-arm scores were greater than two-arm scores when the toe-to-finger method was used and did not differ when the finger-to-finger method was used (P < 0.001 and P > 0.9, respectively). The effects of age, height and BOS on FRT scores were significant (P < 0.05) while gender and strategy were not. FRT scores increased with age, height and BOS. Mean reach scores increased with age (7–8 versus 11–12 year olds) in 1ATF and 2ATF methods after adjusting for confounding effects of subject characteristics (P = 0.05, and P = 0.02, respectively). Mean scores tended to increase across height groups in each method except between the two shortest groups. The mean scores tended to increase with BOS in the 1ATF method only.

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Conclusions:

Measurement was affected by reach method and subject characteristics of age, height, and BOS, especially for toe-to-finger methods. The three tallest height groups significantly differed from each other in the toe-to-finger methods, possibly making height groups more useful than age groups when comparing FRT scores across children.

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Clinical Relevance:

In the literature, age groups have been used for normative data in children. These results show height groups might be preferred for comparing FRT scores across children rather than age or BOS groups in toe-to-finger methods. Lower extremity strategy may not be important as long as the strategy is consistent during testing.

Keywords:

functional reach; balance test; children

© 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.