BACKGROUND/PURPOSE: The Myotonometer® is an electronic tissue compliance meter that has been used to quantify the compliance of soft tissues. The Myotonometer® may be a valuable tool to measure the effectiveness of interventions commonly used to increase tissue compliance in individuals with posterior shoulder tightness (PST). Limited data exist on reliability and responsiveness of the Myotonometer® for assessment of soft tissues about the shoulder; therefore, the purpose of this study is to determine the intra- and inter-session reliability and responsiveness of the Myotonometer® in measuring tissue compliance of the posterior shoulder musculature in asymptomatic subjects with PST.

METHODS: Fifteen asymptomatic subjects with unilateral shoulder range of motion deficits attended two measurement sessions to assess the compliance of the tissues overlying the posterior deltoid, infraspinatus, and teres musculature. Analyses of reliability and responsiveness were conducted using intra-class correlation coefficients (ICCs) and the determination of minimal detectible change (MDC).

RESULTS: Intra-session ICC values ranged from 0.69 to 0.91 for all muscles with MDC never exceeding 1.0 mm. Inter-session ICC values were best for the posterior deltoid, which averaged 0.82, compared to the infraspinatus and the teres complex, which averaged 0.42 and 0.5 respectively. Inter-session MDC ranged from 0.55 to 1.20 mm across all muscles.

CONCLUSIONS: Clinicians can reliably detect relatively small changes in tissue compliance within a single treatment session utilizing the Myotonometer®. The Myotonometer® can reliably detect changes between sessions for tissues overlying the posterior deltoid; however, observed change in the infraspinatus and teres musculature must be above 1 mm to achieve meaningful change and account for decreased inter-session reliability.


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Published in International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy, v. 8, no. 3, p. 248-255.

Copyright © 2013 by the Sports Physical Therapy Section

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