The push-off test: Development of a simple, reliable test of upper extremity weight-bearing capability
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STUDY DESIGN: Longitudinal clinical measurement study. INTRODUCTION: The push-off test (POT) is a novel and simple measure of upper extremity weight-bearing that can be measured with a grip dynamometer. There are no published studies on the validity and reliability of the POT. The relationship between upper extremity self-report activity/participation and impairment measures remain an unexplored realm. PURPOSE: The primary purpose of this study is to estimate the intra and inter-rater reliability and construct validity of the POT. The secondary purpose is to estimate the relationship between upper extremity self-report activity/participation questionnaires and impairment measures. METHODS: A convenience sample of 22 patients with wrist or elbow injuries were tested for POT, wrist/elbow range of motion (ROM), isometric wrist extension strength (WES) and grip strength; and completed two self-report activity/participation questionnaires: Disability of the Arm, Shoulder and the Hand (DASH) and Work Limitations Questionnaire (WLQ-26). POT's inter and intra-rater reliability and construct validity was tested. Pearson's correlations were run between the impairment measures and self-report questionnaires to look into the relationship amongst them. RESULTS: The POT demonstrated high inter-rater reliability (ICC affected = 0.97; 95% C.I. 0.93-0.99; ICC unaffected = 0.85; 95% C.I. 0.68-0.94) and intra-rater reliability (ICC affected = 0.96; 95% C.I. 0.92-0.97; ICC unaffected = 0.92; 95% C.I. 0.85-0.97). The POT was correlated moderately with the DASH (r = -0.47; p = 0.03). While examining the relationship between upper extremity self-reported activity/participation questionnaires and impairment measures the strongest correlation was between the DASH and the POT (r = -0.47; p = 0.03) and none of the correlations with the other physical impairment measures reached significance. At-work disability demonstrated insignificant correlations with physical impairments. CONCLUSION: The POT test provides a reliable and easily administered quantitative measure of ability to bear the load through an injured arm. Preliminary evidence supports a moderate relationship between loading bearing measured by the POT and upper extremity function measured by the DASH. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: 1b.
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