In clinical and research settings, ankle joint dorsiflexion needs to be reliably measured. Dorsiflexion is often measured by goniometry, but the intrarater and interrater reliability of this technique have been reported to be poor. Many devices to measure dorsiflexion have been developed for clinical and research use. An evaluation of 12 current tools showed that none met all of the desirable criteria. The purpose of this study was to design and develop a device that rates highly in all of the criteria and that can be proved to be highly reliable.
While supine on a treatment table, 14 participants had a foot placed in the Charles device and ankle joint dorsiflexion measured and recorded three times with a digital inclinometer. The mean of the three readings was determined to be the ankle joint dorsiflexion.
The analysis used was intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC). There was very little difference in ICC single or average measures between left and right feet, so data were pooled (N = 28). The single-measure ICC was 0.998 (95% confidence interval, 0.996-0.998). The average-measure ICC was 0.998 (95% confidence interval, 0.995-0.999). Limits of agreement for the average measure were also very good: −1.30° to 1.65°.
The Charles device meets all of the desirable criteria and has many innovative features, increasing its appropriateness for clinical and research applications. It has a suitable design for measuring dorsiflexion and high intrarater and interrater reliability.