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Volume 44 Number 1 2007
Pages 123 — 136


Abstract - Dynamometry testing in spinal cord injury

Sue Ann Sisto, PT, MA, PhD;1-3* Trevor Dyson-Hudson, MD1,4

1Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, New Jersey Medical School, Newark, NJ; 2Department of Physical Therapy, School of Health Related Professions, Newark, NJ; 3Human Performance and Movement Analysis Laboratory, Kessler Medical Rehabilitation Research and Education Center (KMRREC), West Orange, NJ; 4Spinal Cord Injury Laboratory, KMRREC, West Orange, NJ
Abstract — Persons with a spinal cord injury (SCI) demonstrate strength deficits that can limit their functional ability to perform activities of daily living. For a specific lesion level, performance of functional activities is related to the level of muscle strength. Consequently, in clinical practice, we need reliable measures of muscle strength to determine mobility and self-care ability. Muscle-strength testing is used to document recovery or loss of motor function early in SCI, as well as measure improvements in strength in chronic SCI. We also need such measures for research purposes to determine the efficacy of clinical trials. Several methods are available for testing muscle strength of persons with SCI, such as handheld, handgrip, and isokinetic dynamometers. This article provides an overview of muscle-contraction definitions and testing methodologies and discusses the reliability of these testing methods and dynamometry devices.
Key words: dynamometry, functional ability, grip strength, handheld dynamometer, manual muscle test, muscle contraction, muscle strength, rehabilitation, spinal cord injury, strength deficit.

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