BACKGROUND: The foot sole represents a sensory dynamometric map and is essential for balance and gait control. Sensory impairments are common, yet often difficult to quantify in neurological conditions, particularly stroke. A functionally oriented and quantifiable assessment, the Foot Roughness Discrimination Test (FoRDT™), was developed to address these shortcomings. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate inter- and intra-rater reliability, convergent and discriminant validity of the Foot Roughness Discrimination Test (FoRDT™). DESIGN: Test-retest design. SETTING: Hospital Outpatient. PARTICIPANTS: Thirty-two people with stroke (mean age 70) at least 3 months after stroke, and 32 healthy, age-matched controls (mean age 70). MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Roughness discrimination thresholds were quantified utilising acrylic foot plates, laser-cut to produce graded spatial gratings. Stroke participants were tested on three occasions, and by two different raters. Inter- and intra-rater reliability and agreement were evaluated with Intraclass Correlation Coefficients and Bland-Altman plots. Convergent validity was evaluated through Spearman rank correlation coefficients (rho) between the FoRDT™ and the Erasmus modified Nottingham Sensory Assessment (EmNSA). RESULTS: Intra- and inter rater reliability and agreement were excellent (ICC =.86 (95% CI .72-.92) and .90 (95% CI .76 -.96)). Discriminant validity was demonstrated through significant differences in FoRDT™ between stroke and control participants (p< .001). Stroke fallers had statistically significant higher FoRDT™ scores compared to non-fallers (p=.01). Convergent validity was demonstrated through significant and strong correlations (rho) with the Erasmus MC Nottingham Sensory Assessment (r=.69, p<.01). Receiver Operator Curve analysis indicated the novel test to have excellent sensitivity and specificity in predicting the presence of self- reported sensory impairments. Functional Reach test significantly correlated with FoRDT™ (r=.62, p< .01) whilst measures of postural sway and gait speed did not (r=.16-.26, p>.05). CONCLUSIONS: This simple and functionally oriented test of plantar sensation is reliable, valid and clinically feasible for use in an ambulatory, chronic stroke and elderly population. It offers clinicians and researchers a sensitive and robust sensory measure and may further support the evaluation of rehabilitation targeting foot sensation. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.



Publication Date


Publication Title




Embargo Period


Organisational Unit

School of Health Professions