Background Standing pelvic posture remains a common assessment in sports therapy. The palpation technique assessing the relative position of the anterior and posterior superior iliac spines is widely used to quantify the asymmetry in pelvic position, but the reliability of this approach in adolescent athletes is not determined.
Objective The aim of the present study was to examine the inter-rater and intra-rater reliability of palpation meter (PALM) measures for assessing standing pelvic tilt in adolescent athletes.
Design Test-retest study.
Setting Sports academy physiotherapy laboratory.
Participants A group of highly-trained adolescent multi-sport athletes (n=75, age=14.9±1.7 yr) training in a national sports academy.
Interventions On two occasions (10 min apart), two physiotherapists took the measurements of standing neutral pelvic tilt, anterior pelvic tilt and posterior pelvic tilt using the PALM. In each position an average of three measurements was taken by each examiner, alternatively for each side.
Main outcome measurements: Reliability of standing pelvic tilt measures was assessed by calculating the between-session and the between-physiotherapists differences expressed as Cohen's d and the standard error of measurement (SEM: CV).
Results All measured parameters showed good inter-rater and intra-rater reproducibility. The standardized differences between two trials or two physiotherapists was trivial with Cohen's d<0.2 in each case. Most importantly the SEM was low when comparing measurements of neutral and anterior pelvic tilts positions between physiotherapists (CV≤15.8% and CV≤8.8% respectively) and between sessions (CV≤14.0% % and CV≤7.3% respectively), but not regarding posterior tilt position (CV≥38.9% between physiotherapists and CV≥24.8% between sessions).
Conclusions The present method for assessing neutral and anterior standing pelvic tilt measurements has a good reliability level and may integrate longitudinal screening and clinical examination routines in young athletes. However, posterior pelvic tilt measurements should be cautiously interpreted due to lower measurements' reliability.
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