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Stainless steel goniometer that measures the range of motion of the finger joints.
With 180º scale presented in 5° intervals.
A goniometer is an instrument that measures an angle or allows an object to be rotated to a precise angular position. The term goniometry is derived from two Greek words,,gonia, which means angle and metron, which means measure.
The first description of a goniometer, derived from the astrolabe, was apparently in 1538 by Gemma Frisius.
The goniometer is used to record the initial and subsequent range of motion at consultations for occupational injuries and by disability assessors to determine permanent disability. This is how progress is assessed, in addition to medico-legal purposes. It is a tool to assess Waddell's signs (findings that may indicate worsening symptoms).
In physiotherapy, occupational therapy and sports, the goniometer is an instrument that measures the amplitude of the angles of the joints in the body (joints). This measuring instrument is a useful clinical tool that allows objective measurements to accurately track progress in a rehabilitation program. When a patient has a reduction in range of motion, the therapist will assess the joint prior to performing an intervention and will continue to use the tool to ensure progress is made. These range of motion measurements can be taken at any joint and typically involve some knowledge of the anatomy of the body, particularly bone landmarks. For example, when measuring the knee joint, the axis (point of rotation) would be placed on the lateral epicondyle of the femur, while the stationary arm would be aligned with the greater trochanter of the femur. Finally, the movable arm of the goniometer would be aligned with the lateral malleolus of the fibula and a measurement would be made using the degree scale on the circular portion of the tool. The only problem with goniometers is that the reading accuracy is not always the greatest. Problems with intra-measurable (between measures) and inter-evidence (among physicians) reliability seem to increase as the examiner's experience diminishes. Some studies suggest that these errors can be between 5 and 10 degrees when completing repeated measures.
These goniometers come in different forms that some would argue would actually increase the tool's reliability. The Universal Standard Goniometer is a plastic or metal tool with 1 degree increments. The arms are usually no longer than 12 inches, so it can be difficult to accurately identify the exact landmark needed for measurement. A more reliable goniometer would be the telescopic arm goniometer. There is a circular plastic shaft like a classic goniometer, but the arms extend up to two feet in either direction.
More recently, in the 21st century, smartphone app developers have created mobile apps that are intended to function as a goniometer. These applications (such as the Knee Goniometer and the Pro Goniometer) use the accelerometers on phones to calculate the angles of measured joints. There has been a lot of research recently that endorses these applications and their devices as reliable and valid tools that are as accurate as a universal goniometer.
Modern rehabilitation therapy motion capture systems perform goniometry at a measurable minimum active range of motion. Although in some cases the accuracy may be inferior to using a goniometer, measuring angles using a motion capture system is superior in providing measurements during dynamic situations, as opposed to static ones. Furthermore, the use of a traditional goniometer takes valuable time, as in the clinical setting, and may not be practical.
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