Reliability of measuring sciatic and tibial nerve movement with diagnostic ultrasound during a neural mobilisation technique

Richard Ellis*, Wayne Hing, Andrew Dilley, Peter Mcnair

*Corresponding author for this work

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42 Citations (Scopus)


Diagnostic ultrasound provides a technique whereby real-time, in vivo analysis of peripheral nerve movement is possible. This study measured sciatic nerve movement during a "slider" neural mobilisation technique (ankle dorsiflexion/plantar flexion and cervical extension/flexion). Transverse and longitudinal movement was assessed from still ultrasound images and video sequences by using frame-by-frame cross-correlation software. Sciatic nerve movement was recorded in the transverse and longitudinal planes. For transverse movement, at the posterior midthigh (PMT) the mean value of lateral sciatic nerve movement was 3.54 mm (standard error of measurement [SEM] +/- 1.18 mm) compared with anterior-posterior/vertical (AP) movement of 1.61 mm (SEM +/- 0.78 mm). At the popliteal crease (PC) scanning location, lateral movement was 6.62 mm (SEM +/- 1.10 mm) compared with AP movement of 3.26 mm (SEM +/- 0.99 mm). Mean longitudinal sciatic nerve movement at the PMT was 3.47 rum (SEM +/- 0.79 mm; n = 27) compared with the PC of 5.22 mull (SEM +/- 0.05 mm; n = 3). The reliability of ultrasound measurement of transverse sciatic nerve movement was fair to excellent (Intraclass correlation coefficient [ICC] = 0.39-0.76) compared with excellent (ICC = 0.75) for analysis of longitudinal movement. Diagnostic ultrasound presents a reliable, noninvasive, real-time, in vivo method for analysis of sciatic nerve movement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1209-1216
Number of pages8
JournalUltrasound in Medicine and Biology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2008
Externally publishedYes

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