Ultrasonic Evaluation of the Heel Fat Pad Under Loading Conditions Using a Polymethylpentene Resin Plate: Part 2. Reliability and Agreement Study


      Previously, we developed an instrument to evaluate the heel fat pad (HFP) two-layer structure, under varying loading conditions, with ultrasonography from the plantar surface through a polymethylpentene resin plate; the measured values were equivalent to those obtained without this plate. The study described here aimed to determine the intra- and inter-examiner reliabilities of the HFP thickness measurements and the agreement between long- and short-axis measured values using this instrument. Two examiners successively recorded the HFPs of 40 healthy adults twice under the no loading and loading conditions on the long- and short-axis scans. The HFPs were classified into two layers, and their thicknesses were measured. Short-term intra- and inter-examiner reliabilities were determined using the intraclass correlation coefficients. Measurements were repeated 1 mo later to determine the long-term intra-examiner reliability. The agreement between the measured long- and short-axis values was investigated by calculating the minimal detectable changes. The determined short- and long-term intra-examiner reliabilities ranged from 0.750 to 0.999 and from 0.765 to 0.952, respectively. Inter-examiner reliability ranged from 0.765 to 0.997. Differences may occur between the values measured at different axes. The measurements using this evaluation instrument were reliable, and it is best to unify the measurement axis for quantitative research.

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