OBJECTIVES: To investigate physiotherapist agreement in rating movement quality during lower extremity functional tests using two visual rating methods and physiotherapists with differing clinical experience.
DESIGN: Clinical measurement.
PARTICIPANTS: Six healthy individuals were rated by 44 physiotherapists. These raters were in three groups (inexperienced, novice, experienced).
MAIN MEASURES: Video recordings of all six individuals performing four lower extremity functional tests were visually rated (dichotomous or ordinal scale) using two rating methods (overall or segment) on two occasions separated by 3-4 weeks. Intra and inter-rater agreement for physiotherapists was determined using overall percentage agreement (OPA) and the first order agreement coefficient (AC1).
RESULTS: Intra-rater agreement for overall and segment methods ranged from slight to almost perfect (OPA: 29-96%, AC1: 0.01 to 0.96). AC1 agreement was better in the experienced group (84-99% likelihood) and for dichotomous rating (97-100% likelihood). Inter-rater agreement ranged from fair to good (OPA: 45-79%; AC1: 0.22-0.71). AC1 agreement was not influenced by clinical experience but was again better using dichotomous rating.
CONCLUSIONS: Physiotherapists' visual rating of movement quality during lower extremity functional tests resulted in slight to almost perfect intra-rater agreement and fair to good inter-rater agreement. Agreement improved with increased level of clinical experience and use of dichotomous rating.