Date of Award

Spring 2010

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


Human Movement Sciences


Athletic Training

Committee Director

Bonnie Van Lunen

Committee Member

James Onate

Committee Member

Martha Walker

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.E44 Q33 2010


Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) is generally described as an insidious onset with pain increasing during running, jumping, ascending and descending stairs as well as sitting with the knees flexed for an extended period of time. Clinicians often use special tests in injury evaluations and range of motion assessments, usually making a visual observation of that status of the patient. The purpose of this study was to examine how interval measurements utilized in flexibility and range of motion assessments correlate with visual observations of special tests (active knee extension test, Thomas test, Ober's test, rectus femoris flexibility, and Craig's test). The secondary purpose was to examine the intra-examiner, inter-examiner and inter-session reliability of these special tests. Twenty healthy college-aged students (7 males, 13 females; age= 22.75 ±1.59 yrs; ht= 171.45 ± 11.59 cm; mass = 73 .32 ± 16.34 kg) participated. Subjects were included in the study if they had no musculoskeletal pathologies in the last three months and had been cleared for all other pathologies. Five assessment measures were performed by novice athletic trainers on each subject during each of two sessions. The examiners made a visual observation of the various ranges of motion and classified each subject as flexible, neutral, or inflexible for each test. The examiners then took three measurements of each test using a digital inclinometer. This data was used to calculate the intra-examiner, inter-examiner, and inter-session reliability. The visual estimates and numeric measurements were then compared to obtain the correlation data between them. We found slight to moderate correlation results between the numeric measurements and visual estimates for all the tests. Because we used a three-category system versus a pass/fail method, the data had a larger disbursement, decreasing the correlation value we could obtain. Also, we chose to allow the examiners to use their own criteria for categorizing the subjects, providing no guidelines to normative values. Considering these factors, visual estimates could be a reasonable method of assessment, though further studies should be conducted to confirm this.


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