Mobility of the first-ray is associated with several common lower extremity disorders. However, the reliability and validity of clinical measurement remains unclear. In this study we examined first-ray mobility by using one hand to stabilize the lesser metatarsals while the clinician’s other hand applied a displacement force to the head of the first metatarsal. The amount of mobility was graded as stiff, normal or hypermobile. We then used a well-validated mechanical device to perform similar tests and assessed validity, intrarater reliability and interrater reliability. Three clinicians having varied levels of experience graded first-ray mobility on 15 subjects. A separate investigator measured dorsal mobility with a mechanical device. Both methods of testing were repeated to assess measurement reliability. Reliability was estimated by kappa (K) statistics. Spearman correlation assessed the relationship between mobility graded manually and dorsal mobility measured by device. Manual examination intrarater K values ranged from 0.50 to 0.85, and interrater agreement from 0.09 to 0.16. Manual grading was not related (r = -0.21) to the absolute measure of total dorsal mobility made by device. This brings into question the validity and reliability of manual estimates of first-ray mobility.
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- First Metatarsal
- Manual Examination
- Mechanical Device