The Open Orthopaedics Journal

ISSN: 1874-3250 ― Volume 14, 2020

The Construct Validity and Responsiveness of Sensory Tests in Patients with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Derek K.M Cheung*, 1, JoyC MacDermid 2, 3, Dave Walton 1, Ruby Grewal 2, 4
1 Health and Rehabilitation Sciences Physical Therapy, Faculty of Health Sciences, Western University, London, Ontario, Canada
2 Hand and Upper Limb Clinic, St. Joseph’s Hospital, London, Ontario, Canada
3 School of Rehabilitation Science, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
4 Schulich School of Medicine, Western University, London, Ontario, Canada


Background and Purpose :

Sensory evaluation is fundamental to evaluation of patients with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS). The purpose of this study was to determine the construct validity and responsiveness for sensory threshold tests in patients with CTS.

Methods :

Sixty-three patients diagnosed with CTS were evaluated prior to orthotic intervention and again at follow up at 6 and 12 weeks. Sensory tests included touch threshold PSSD (Pressure Specified Sensory Device) and vibration threshold (Vibrometer). Construct validity was assessed by comparing sensory tests to hand function, and dexterity testing using Spearman rho (rs). Patients were classified as either responders or non-responders to orthotic intervention based on the change score of the Symptom Severity Scale (SSS) of 0.5. Responsiveness of the sensory tools was measured using ROC (receiver operating characteristic) curves, SRM (Standardized Response Mean), and ES (Effect Sizes).

Results :

The PSSD had low to moderate correlations (rs ≤ 0.32) while Vibrometer scores had moderate correlations (rs = 0.36 - 0.41) with dexterity scores. The Clinically Important Difference (CID) for the PSSD was estimated at 0.15 g/mm2 but was not discriminative. The Vibrometer demonstrated moderate responsiveness, with a SRM = 0.61 and an ES = 0.46 among responders. The PSSD had a SRM = 0.09 and an ES = 0.08 and showed low responsiveness for patients with a clinically important improvement in symptoms.

Conclusion :

Measurement properties suggest that the Vibrometer was preferable to the PSSD because it was more correlated to hand function, and was more responsive. Clinicians may choose use the Vibrometer opposed to the PSSD for determining important change in sensation after orthotic intervention.

Keywords: Carpal tunnel syndrome, clinically important difference, construct validity, orthotic intervention, psychometric properties, responsiveness, touch threshold, vibration threshold.

Article Information

Identifiers and Pagination:

Year: 2014
Volume: 8
First Page: 100
Last Page: 107
Publisher Id: TOORTHJ-8-100
DOI: 10.2174/1874325001408010100

Article History:

Received Date: 24/2/2014
Revision Received Date: 21/4/2014
Acceptance Date: 22/4/2014
Electronic publication date: 16/5/2014
Collection year: 2014

© Cheung et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( which permits unrestrictive use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Hand and Upper Limb Centre, Clinical Research Laboratory (Basement), St. Joseph's Health Centre, 268 Grosvenor St., London, Ontario, N6A 4L6, Canada; Tel: 519-646-6000; Fax: 519-646-6049; E-mail:

Track Your Manuscript:


"Open access will revolutionize 21st century knowledge work and accelerate the diffusion of ideas and evidence that support just in time learning and the evolution of thinking in a number of disciplines."

Daniel Pesut
(Indiana University School of Nursing, USA)

"It is important that students and researchers from all over the world can have easy access to relevant, high-standard and timely scientific information. This is exactly what Open Access Journals provide and this is the reason why I support this endeavor."

Jacques Descotes
(Centre Antipoison-Centre de Pharmacovigilance, France)

"Publishing research articles is the key for future scientific progress. Open Access publishing is therefore of utmost importance for wider dissemination of information, and will help serving the best interest of the scientific community."

Patrice Talaga
(UCB S.A., Belgium)

"Open access journals are a novel concept in the medical literature. They offer accessible information to a wide variety of individuals, including physicians, medical students, clinical investigators, and the general public. They are an outstanding source of medical and scientific information."

Jeffrey M. Weinberg
(St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center, USA)

"Open access journals are extremely useful for graduate students, investigators and all other interested persons to read important scientific articles and subscribe scientific journals. Indeed, the research articles span a wide range of area and of high quality. This is specially a must for researchers belonging to institutions with limited library facility and funding to subscribe scientific journals."

Debomoy K. Lahiri
(Indiana University School of Medicine, USA)

"Open access journals represent a major break-through in publishing. They provide easy access to the latest research on a wide variety of issues. Relevant and timely articles are made available in a fraction of the time taken by more conventional publishers. Articles are of uniformly high quality and written by the world's leading authorities."

Robert Looney
(Naval Postgraduate School, USA)

"Open access journals have transformed the way scientific data is published and disseminated: particularly, whilst ensuring a high quality standard and transparency in the editorial process, they have increased the access to the scientific literature by those researchers that have limited library support or that are working on small budgets."

Richard Reithinger
(Westat, USA)

"Not only do open access journals greatly improve the access to high quality information for scientists in the developing world, it also provides extra exposure for our papers."

J. Ferwerda
(University of Oxford, UK)

"Open Access 'Chemistry' Journals allow the dissemination of knowledge at your finger tips without paying for the scientific content."

Sean L. Kitson
(Almac Sciences, Northern Ireland)

"In principle, all scientific journals should have open access, as should be science itself. Open access journals are very helpful for students, researchers and the general public including people from institutions which do not have library or cannot afford to subscribe scientific journals. The articles are high standard and cover a wide area."

Hubert Wolterbeek
(Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands)

"The widest possible diffusion of information is critical for the advancement of science. In this perspective, open access journals are instrumental in fostering researches and achievements."

Alessandro Laviano
(Sapienza - University of Rome, Italy)

"Open access journals are very useful for all scientists as they can have quick information in the different fields of science."

Philippe Hernigou
(Paris University, France)

"There are many scientists who can not afford the rather expensive subscriptions to scientific journals. Open access journals offer a good alternative for free access to good quality scientific information."

Fidel Toldrá
(Instituto de Agroquimica y Tecnologia de Alimentos, Spain)

"Open access journals have become a fundamental tool for students, researchers, patients and the general public. Many people from institutions which do not have library or cannot afford to subscribe scientific journals benefit of them on a daily basis. The articles are among the best and cover most scientific areas."

M. Bendandi
(University Clinic of Navarre, Spain)

"These journals provide researchers with a platform for rapid, open access scientific communication. The articles are of high quality and broad scope."

Peter Chiba
(University of Vienna, Austria)

"Open access journals are probably one of the most important contributions to promote and diffuse science worldwide."

Jaime Sampaio
(University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Portugal)

"Open access journals make up a new and rather revolutionary way to scientific publication. This option opens several quite interesting possibilities to disseminate openly and freely new knowledge and even to facilitate interpersonal communication among scientists."

Eduardo A. Castro
(INIFTA, Argentina)

"Open access journals are freely available online throughout the world, for you to read, download, copy, distribute, and use. The articles published in the open access journals are high quality and cover a wide range of fields."

Kenji Hashimoto
(Chiba University, Japan)

"Open Access journals offer an innovative and efficient way of publication for academics and professionals in a wide range of disciplines. The papers published are of high quality after rigorous peer review and they are Indexed in: major international databases. I read Open Access journals to keep abreast of the recent development in my field of study."

Daniel Shek
(Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong)

"It is a modern trend for publishers to establish open access journals. Researchers, faculty members, and students will be greatly benefited by the new journals of Bentham Science Publishers Ltd. in this category."

Jih Ru Hwu
(National Central University, Taiwan)

Browse Contents

Webmaster Contact:
Copyright © 2020 Bentham Open