Stability of lower limb minimal perceptible difference in floor height during hopping stretch-shortening cycles
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This study aimed to investigate a novel proprioceptive test, the minimal perceptible difference (MPD) test, which assessed participants' ability to perceive floor height changes whilst hopping. Sixteen healthy volunteers performed multiple trials of five hops on a custom built sleigh apparatus that permitted a floor height change (range 3 –48 mm) or no change, as dictated by a structured searching algorithm. Minimum detected surface height change was recorded for eight different hopping conditions (factors–technique: alternate/bilateral hopping; side: dominant/non-dominant; direction of change: up/down) over two separate testing occasions. Within day and between day reliability were assessed using intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) and 95% confidence intervals. The only factor which significantly influenced the sensitivity of subjects to detect changes in floor height was the hopping technique (bilateral or alternate). The mean MPD was significantly lower (p<0.0001) for the bilateral hopping technique (MPDmean = 15.7 mm) when compared to the alternate hopping technique (MPDmean = 26.6 mm). All bilateral hopping techniques yielded moderate to high ICC for within (0.60–0.79) and between day (0.67–0.88) reliability.The results suggest that the bilateral hopping MPD assessment is a reliable, functional assessment of proprioception sensitivity during repeated stretch-shortening cycles that may better reflect human gait than established static assessment. Increased sensitivity to detection during bilateral hopping may reflect strategy dependent utility of proprioceptive information.
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