Background: The Abductor hallucis muscle (AbdH) plays an integral role during gait and is often affected in pathological foot conditions. The aim of this study was to evaluate the within and between-session intra-tester reliability using diagnostic ultrasound of the dorso-plantar thickness, medio-lateral width and cross-sectional area, of the AbdH in asymptomatic adults.
Methods: The AbdH muscles of thirty asymptomatic subjects were imaged and then measured using a Philips HD11 Ultrasound machine. Interclass correlation coefficients (ICC) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) were used to calculate both within and between session intra-tester reliability.
Results: The within-session reliability results demonstrated for dorso-plantar thickness an ICC of 0.97 (95% CI: 0.99-0.99); medio-lateral width an ICC: of 0.97 (95% CI: 0.92-0.97) and cross-sectional area an ICC of 0.98 (95% CI: 0.98-0.99). Between-session reliability results demonstrated for dorso-plantar thickness an ICC of 0.97 (95% CI: 0.95 to 0.98); medio-lateral width an ICC of 0.94 (95% CI 0.90 to 0.96) and for cross-sectional area an ICC of 0.79 (95% CI 0.65 to 0.88).
Conclusion: Diagnostic ultrasound has the potential to be a reliable tool for evaluating the AbdH muscle in asymptomatic subjects. Subsequent studies may be conducted to provide a better understanding of the AbdH function in foot and ankle pathologies.