Article Title



Brian A. PribbleƗ1, Daniel J. Larsonǂ1, Christopher D. Blackǂ1, FACSM, Daniel J. BlackwoodƗ1 Jacob Rookard*1 and Rebecca D. Larsonǂ1 1University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma

Simple in nature, the foot tapping test (FTT) has potential as an objective measure of upper motor function. Despite this, the reliability of the FTT has not been well identified. Furthermore, it is uncertain as to how to best measure the FTT as number of foot taps may vary upon counting methods. In order to make the FTT more clinically relevant, more research must be done on the FTT in healthy individuals in order to determine if it is a reliable measure of foot tapping ability. PURPOSE: The purpose of the study was to investigate reliability measures of the FTT in a healthy population using a variety of different measurement and counting methods. By identifying the reliability of the different measurement methods we hope to be able to make recommendations for future FTT research. METHODS: 20 healthy individuals, ages of 18-31, completed a series of foot tapping trials over 4 visits. While seated, subjects tapped their foot repeatedly for 10 seconds while researchers counted the number of foot taps. The starting foot was randomized for each visit and tested twice with the shoes ON and twice with shoes OFF (giving 8 trials per visit * 4 visits = 32 trials per subject). The number of foot taps was determined for each trial with visual inspection, video playback (slowed and normal speed), and with the use of a force plate. The mean values of the FTT trials were compared across days, dominant vs. non-dominant foot, the shoes ON/OFF conditions, and with the different counting methods. RESULTS: Significant differences were found in foot tapping rates in the shoes ON (mean: 54.3 taps) vs shoes OFF (mean: 53.4 taps) and dominant (mean: 53.2 taps) vs. non-dominant (mean: 51.1 taps) foot analyses (p<0.05). Furthermore it was found that a significant difference in the mean number of foot taps existed between visit 1 (mean: 51.2 taps) and visits 2, 3, and 4 (mean: 54.3, 53.5, and 46.7 taps respectively) (p>0.05). It was found that the FTT exhibited high test-retest reliability (Pearson r >0.80) and high Cronbach’s alpha (alpha >0.80) across the live, slowed video counts, and force plate measurements for both the shoes ON and shoes OFF trials. CONCLUSION: It was found that the FTT exhibits a high level of reliability across the live, slowed video, and force plate measures with both the shoes ON and shoes OFF. Given the observed reliability, the use of force plate with the FTT offers an attractive alternative to live counting or video playback methods.

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