The reliability of isometric strength and fatigue measures in patients with knee osteoarthritis
The reliability of isometric strength and fatigue measures in patients with knee osteoarthritis
April 2, 2008

Patients with knee osteoarthritis have both poor strength and endurance of their quadriceps muscles. It is possible to assess muscle fatigue by monitoring frequency spectrum using electromyography (EMG). This study used the closed kinetic chain approach to muscle assessment. Fifty-five subjects with knee osteoarthritis were examined twice within 1 week. To test maximum voluntary isometric contraction into extension an isokinetic dynamometer, with a closed kinetic chain Ïleg pressÓ attachment was used. EMG assessment of signal median frequency was done by measuring median frequency shift associated with fatiguing of muscle during a 60 s isometric contraction at 60% of maximum isometric contraction. Intra-class correlation coefficients with 95% confidence intervals, standard errors of measurement and smallest detectable differences were calculated. Results showed the reliability of the maximum voluntary isometric contraction extension strength test was ICC 0.99 and SEM 3.95 N m. The initial median frequency indices also demonstrated excellent ICC and SEM statistics (ICC 0.84Ò0.91, SEM 9.2Ò11 Hz) for the three heads of the quadriceps; however, the fatigue slopes for all three muscles were unreliable with poor ICCs (0.04Ò0.72) and SDD values (2207Ò4000%). The assessment of peak muscle torque using a closed kinetic chain isometric technique is reliable, as is the determination of median frequency values for the quadriceps. Error for the assessment of fatigue was of an unacceptable scale. While the use of a closed kinetic chain leg press technique provides a reliable measurement of lower limb strength, EMG power spectrum decrease during an isometric contraction is of little value.
McCarthy CJ, et al. Manual Therapy. April 2008; Vol. 13, Iss. 2, pp. 159-164.
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