Development and validation of self-reported line drawings for assessment of knee malalignment and foot rotation: A cross-sectional comparative study

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Abstract

Background. For large scale epidemiological studies clinical assessments and radiographs can be impractical and expensive to apply to more than just a sample of the population examined. The study objectives were to develop and validate two novel instruments for self-reported knee malalignment and foot rotation suitable for use in questionnaire studies of knee pain and osteoarthritis. Methods. Two sets of line drawings were developed using similar methodology. Each instrument consisted of an explanatory question followed by a set of drawings showing straight alignment, then two each at 7.5° angulation and 15° angulation in the varus/valgus (knee) and inward/outward (foot) directions. Forty one participants undertaking a community study completed the instruments on two occasions. Participants were assessed once by a blinded expert clinical observer with demonstrated excellent reproducibility. Validity was assessed by sensitivity, specificity and likelihood ratio (LR) using the observer as the reference standard. Reliability was assessed using weighted kappa (). Knee malalignment was measured on 400 knee radiographs. General linear model was used to assess for the presence of a linear increase in knee alignment angle (measured medially) from self-reported severe varus to mild varus, straight, mild valgus and severe valgus deformity. Results. Observer reproducibility () was 0.89 and 0.81 for the knee malalignment and foot rotation instruments respectively. Self-reported participant reproducibility was also good for the knee ( 0.73) and foot ( 0.87) instruments. Validity was excellent for the knee malalignment instrument, with a sensitivity of 0.74 (95%CI 0.54, 0.93) and specificity of 0.97 (95%CI 0.94, 1.00). Similarly the foot rotation instrument was also found to have high sensitivity (0.92, 95%CI 0.83, 1.01) and specificity (0.96, 95%CI 0.93, 1.00). The knee alignment angle increased progressively from self reported severe varus to mild varus, straight, mild valgus and severe valgus knee malalignment (ptrend<0.001). Conclusions. The two novel instruments appear to provide a valid and reliable assessment of self-reported knee malalignment and foot rotation, and may have a practical use in epidemiological studies. © 2010 Ingham et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

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Ingham, S. L., Moody, A., Abhishek, A., Doherty, S. A., Zhang, W., & Doherty, M. (2010). Development and validation of self-reported line drawings for assessment of knee malalignment and foot rotation: A cross-sectional comparative study. BMC Medical Research Methodology, 10. https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2288-10-57

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