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Part I. Introduction to Goniometry and Muscle Length Testing: Introduction

This book is designed to serve as a guide for learning how to assess range of motion and muscle length. Part I presents the background information on the principles and procedures necessary for understanding goniometry. Practice exercises are included at appropriate intervals to help the examiner apply this information and develop the psychomotor skills necessary for competency in measuring joint motion and muscle length. Different types of joint range-of-motion measuring instruments such as goniometers and inclinometers are introduced so that examiners become competent in their use. The validity and reliability of goniometric measurements are explored to encourage thoughtful and appropriate use of these techniques in clinical practice. Parts II through IV present the procedures for the examination of joint range of motion and muscle length testing of the upper and lower extremities, the spine, and temporomandibular joints.


After completion of Part I, which includes chapters on Basic Concepts, Procedures, and Validity and Reliability, you will be able to:

  1. Define:

    • goniometry

    • kinematics

    • arthrokinematics

    • osteokinematics

    • range of motion

    • end-feel

    • muscle length testing

    • reliability

    • validity

  2. Identify the appropriate planes and axes for each of the following motions:

    • flexion–extension, abduction–adduction, and rotation

  3. Compare:

    • active, active assistive, and passive ranges of motion

    • arthrokinematic and osteokinematic motions soft, firm, and hard end-feels

    • hypomobility and hypermobility

    • capsular and noncapsular patterns of restricted motion

    • goniometer and inclinometer

    • reliability and validity

    • intratester and intertester reliability

    • face, content, criterion-related, and construct validity

  4. Explain the importance of:

    • testing positions

    • stabilization

    • clinical estimates of range of motion

    • palpation of bony landmarks

    • recording starting and ending positions

  5. Perform an evaluation of elbow joint motion, including:

    • a clear explanation of the procedure

    • proper placement of the individual in the recommended testing position

    • adequate stabilization of the proximal joint component

    • correct determination of the end of the range of motion

    • correct identification of the end-feel

    • palpation of the appropriate bony landmarks

    • accurate alignment of the goniometer

    • correct reading of both the goniometer and the inclinometer, and recording of the measurements

  6. Give an example of a muscle length test.

  7. Perform and interpret intratester and intertester reliability tests, including standard deviation, coefficient of variation, correlation coefficients, standard error of measurement, and minimal detectable change.

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