Initial Development of a device for controlling manually applied forces

Gordon Waddington, Roger Adams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


In both simulation and manual therapy studies, substantial variability has been shown when therapists attempt to replicate an applied force. Knowledge about the forces employed during treatment could reduce this variability. In the current project, a prototype for a mobilizing device incorporating a dynamometer was constructed. The prototype device was built around a conventional “hand-grip” dynamometer to give dial visibility during application of mobilizing forces and a moulded handle was used to increase the hand contact surface during force application. The variability of the mobilization forces produced was measured, and ratings of comfort during a simulated spinal mobilization technique were obtained from therapists. Method Thirty physiotherapists were randomly allocated to apply either: (i) their own estimate of a grade III mobilization force using their hands in a pisiform grip or (ii) a 100 N force with the manual therapy dynamometer, and to rate comfort during the performance of both techniques on a 100 mm visual analogue scale. Results Variance in dynamometer-dial-guided force application was always significantly less than the variance in therapist-concept-guided force application. Repeated-measures tests showed that the mean force produced at grade III was not significantly different from 100 N, but physiotherapist comfort ratings were found to be significantly greater (P<0.01) when the manual therapy dynamometer was used. Conclusion Manually applied force variability was significantly less and therapist comfort greater when using a device with visual access to a dial giving immediate force readout
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-138
Number of pages6
JournalManual Therapy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2007


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