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Written by Lily Kibblewhite Oyamburu, BSc (Hons) MRCPod - Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS trust - senior podiatrist
Two years ago I graduated with a first-class honors degree in BSc in Podiatry. It was whilst researching the inter-tester and intra-tester measuring methods and the varying consistency of results that health care professionals were achieving, with seemingly no other alternative or reliable method available to them, that I discovered the EasyAngle® device, which according to Meloq “aimed to increase easy and accurate measurements.” As a result of this, I made the decision for my final year dissertation to review the reliability of the EasyAngle® in comparison to the more traditional goniometer measuring device.
Once this had been decided I contacted the Meloq team who was very efficient in their response and kindly allowed me full use of the EasyAngle® device for the purpose of the study. The whole process from first contact to delivery was quick and easy, which enabled me to start the trial as quickly as possible. For the purpose of the study, I decided on a cohort of 14 (n=14) second and third-year podiatry students, and by selecting the weight-bearing lunge test due to its consistently repeatable results, I was able to assess the inter-tester and intra-tester reliability of both the universal tractograph and EasyAngle® digital goniometer when measuring ankle dorsiflexion. The study found that 80% of the total mean ranges improved when using the EasyAngle® in comparison to the tractograph in addition to reduced confidence intervals and a reduced overall standard deviation.
Although the participant sample of 14 was considered relatively small, the findings showed encouraging results for the EasyAngle® as well as supporting previous literature surrounding the poor reliability of the tractograph. But due to its affordability and the easy accessibility of the tractograph, it may still be used within clinics, however, the results achieved should be interpreted with caution due to the device's reduced inter-tester and intra-tester reliability, especially when compared to the EasyAngle®.
The conclusion of my study identified the EasyAngle® device as a direct replacement for the more traditional tractograph when measuring ankle dorsiflexion due to not only its improved reliability but repeatable and more accurate measurements. This in turn results in clinicians being far better informed, enabling them to provide accurate personalized treatment plans and therefore increased levels of patient care.