Why we use objective measurement?

As physiotherapists, it is important that we have valid, reliable, and accurate tools for measuring the status of our patient’s recovery. We stay up to date on the current practical guidelines following their recommendations for assessment, measurement and treatment. Due to the fact that injuries manifest in a broad range of different symptoms, we have invested in a range of technologies tailored to measure the various symptoms and outcomes.

Hand-Held Dynamometry

Hand-held dynamometry is a specifically designed portable device for assessing and measuring the strength of an individual muscle or movement. We apply it to both our patient’s injured and uninjured sides as a relative comparison as well as with the normative values available through scientific research. Objective measurements are obtained by applying force against force pad that is held by the tester.

The tester will resist against the force of a singular motion applied by the patient in order to determine a strength in kilograms of the force applied. A 2012 study performed by Bohannon found that the use of a Handheld dynamometer can produce valid and reliable results when testing muscle strength, provided the tester themselves had sufficient muscle strength to apply testing. Watch our video demonstrating PMC Physio Hand-Held Dynamometry patient service.


The Footscan pressure mat is a valuable tool used by clinicians that can help us detect abnormalities or tendencies of patients during their Gait cycle. This piece of equipment allows us to measure step length, cadence, walking speed, and right/left step times. The footscan walkway also allows us to map the foots position during Gait and show us where patients carry the most weight in their foot through the various points in the step.

This enables us to measure patients for custom insoles that cater directly to their individual foot and their needs depending on the results displayed in testing. Footscan has been proven to be both a valid and reliable objective measurement for analysing patient gait cycles. Watch our video demonstrating Footscan in PMC Physiotherapy Dunboyne.


The Optojump system is used to measure jump height and speed throughout a multitude of testing mechanisms and manners. The results of this testing can allow us to assess athletic performance, measure workload tolerance, and to examine patient conditions following injury. 

The system also allows us to create a database of the patient’s measurements, that can be used to graph patient progress through testing and retesting of the patient. Although this innovative technology is still evolving, the Optojump has been demonstrated to show excellent test-retest reliability, and excellent validity in measuring Countermovement Jump, Squat Jump, and Drop Jump (Montalvo et al, 2021).

Range of Motion

Range of Motion is the measurement of the amount of movement a joint is capable of in each of available movements. Range of motion can be measured both actively (how much movement the patient can achieve themselves) and passively (how much movement is available in the joint when the patient is at rest). 

In order to achieve a clear objective measure for range of motion, physiotherapists use a full-circle goniometer. This provides us a clear numerical value on the degrees of movement available in the joint (Bohannon and Gajdosik, 1987). 

It is important to note that range of motion does not tell us specifically what structures are causing limitations, or what specific structures may be at fault for abnormalities in motion.


As physiotherapist, one of the most common complaints we deal with is pain, whether at rest or with activity. Therefore, it is very important for us to try and quantify this pain as a point of reference for treatment. The two most common tools used for measuring pain are the Numerical Rating Scale, where the physiotherapist may ask you to quantify your pain on a scale or 1-10, and the Visual Analogue Scale, where the physiotherapist may ask you to point to a picture that best describes your pain on a linear graph.

However, these two measures are quite unidimensional, and for a better, more rounded description of pain, some physiotherapists may ask you to fill out a questionnaire such as a Brief Pain Inventory Short-form, or the Short-Form McGill Pain Questionnaire (Younger et al, 2009)

PMC Physiotherapy Reccomendation

In PMC Physiotherapy we believe in the use of objective measurement to determine the baseline assessment of our patients at the beginning of your physiotherapy treatment, at regular intervals and to monitor your recovery progress. We dedicate time to understand your condition in your first session in the clinic, we create a coherent treatment plan and continue to check in on your are progression as we move through rehabilitation phases.

If you notice any pain or a niggling injury contact one of our physios at PMC Physiotherapy Dunboyne.


  • Bohannon, R. W. (2012). Hand-held dynamometry: a practicable alternative for obtaining objective measures of muscle strength. Isokinetics and Exercise Science, 20(4), 301-315.
  • Gajdosik, R. L., & Bohannon, R. W. (1987). Clinical measurement of range of motion: review of goniometry emphasizing reliability and validity. Physical therapy, 67(12), 1867-1872.
  • Montalvo, S., Gonzalez, M. P., Dietze-Hermosa, M. S., Eggleston, J. D., & Dorgo, S. (2021). Common vertical jump and reactive strength index measuring devices: A validity and reliability analysis. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 35(5), 1234-1243.
  • Younger, J., McCue, R., & Mackey, S. (2009). Pain outcomes: a brief review of instruments and techniques. Current pain and headache reports, 13(1), 39-43.


PMC Physiotherapy Clinic, Unit 36, Dunboyne Business Park, Dunboyne, Co Meath

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