Luca Vismara, Andrea Bergna, Andrea Gianmaria Tarantino, Fulvio Dal Farra, Francesca Buffone, Davide Vendramin, Veronica Cimolin, Serena Cerfoglio, Luca Guglielmo Pradotto, Alessandro Mauro

Reliability and Validity of the Variability Model Testing Procedure for Somatic Dysfunction Assessment: A Comparison with Gait Analysis Parameters in Healthy Subjects

  • Health Information Management
  • Health Informatics
  • Health Policy
  • Leadership and Management

Somatic dysfunction (SD) is an altered body function involving the musculoskeletal system. However, its clinical signs—tissue texture abnormalities, positional asymmetry, restricted range of motion, and tissue tenderness—did not achieve satisfactory results for reliability. A recent theoretical model proposed a revision assessing the movement variability around the joint rest position. The asymmetry and restriction of motion may characterize functional assessment in osteopathic clinical practice, demonstrating the reliability required. Hence, this study investigated the reliability of the new variability model (VM) with gait analysis (GA). Three blind examiners tested 27 young healthy subjects for asymmetry of motion around rest position and the SD grade on six body regions. The results were compared to the VICON procedure for 3D-GA. The inter-rater agreement for the detection of reduced movement variability ranged from 0.78 to 0.54, whereas for SD, grade ranged from 0.64 to 0.47. VM had a sensitivity and specificity of 0.62 and 0.53, respectively, in SD detection compared to step length normality. Global severity grade of SD demonstrated moderate to good correlation with spatial-temporal parameters. The VM showed palpatory reliability and validity with spatial–temporal parameters in GA. Those findings contribute to the innovation for SD examination with implications for the clinical practice.

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