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Volume 33 (2024): Issue 1 (Jan 2024)

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Effect of Neuromuscular Electrostimulation With Blood Flow Restriction on Acute Muscle Swelling of the Abductor Hallucis

Kazunori Okamura, Manami Hamaguchi, Yuna Ueno, and Taira Kida

Context: Plantar intrinsic foot muscle strength training is difficult to master to a degree sufficient to elicit muscle hypertrophy in most individuals. It is possible that combining neuromuscular electrostimulation (NMES) and blood flow restriction (BFR) can elicit plantar intrinsic foot muscle hypertrophy regardless of the individual’s technique. This study aimed to determine the effects of NMES training with BFR on acute muscle swelling in the abductor hallucis. Design: Randomized, controlled, single-blind trial design. Methods: Forty-eight participants were randomly allocated to the NMES + BFR, NMES, or Sham NMES + BFR groups. All participants received abductor hallucis NMES for 15 minutes. Participants in the NMES + BFR and Sham NMES + BFR groups received NMES with BFR. The intensity of NMES was the sensory threshold in the Sham NMES + BFR group. The cross-sectional area of the abductor hallucis was measured pretraining and posttraining using ultrasonography by a single investigator blinded to the participants’ allocations. Results: After 15 minutes of training, the cross-sectional area of the abductor hallucis was significantly increased in the NMES + BFR (P < .001) and the Sham NMES + BFR (P = .004) groups. Moreover, the rate of increase was significantly higher in the NMES + BFR group than in the NMES or the Sham NMES + BFR groups (P < .001 and P = .001, respectively). Conclusions: Since it is possible that the amount of muscle swelling immediately after training correlates with muscle hypertrophy when training is continued, the results of this study suggest that NMES training with BFR is a training method that can be expected to produce plantar intrinsic foot muscle hypertrophy. Further studies are needed to confirm the long-term effects of NMES training with BFR.

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Current Rehabilitation Practices and Return to Sports Criteria After Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction: A Survey of Physical Therapists in Saudi Arabia

Yasir S. Alshehri, Marwan M.A. Aljohani, Hosam Alzahrani, Msaad Alzhrani, Khalid M. Alkhathami, Adel Alshahrani, and Osama A. Khaled

Context: With the high prevalence of anterior cruciate ligament rupture among young and active individuals, rehabilitation after the injury and surgery should meet the current evidence-based recommendations to restore knee function and reduce the risk of further injury. This study aimed to investigate the current rehabilitation practices and return to sports (RTS) criteria after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR) among physical therapists in Saudi Arabia. Design: Online cross-sectional survey-based study. Methods: A total of 177 physical therapists in Saudi Arabia participated in this survey. The survey included questions about the preferred postoperative timing and frequency of rehabilitation, current views on the importance of preoperative and postoperative rehabilitation to the overall outcomes, the timeframe of RTS, and the decision-making process to RTS. Results: Most therapists (96.6%) believed preoperative rehabilitation was essential/important to postoperative outcomes. Two-thirds encouraged patients to start rehabilitation program within 1 to 4 days immediately post-ACLR. RTS was permitted 6 to 9 months post-ACLR by 60% of therapists if satisfied with patient progress and capacity. Factors considered before RTS included knee strength (72.9%), functional capacity (86.4%), lower limb and trunk mechanics (62.7%), and psychological readiness (42.2%). Knee strength was assessed by manual muscle testing (39%), handheld dynamometry (15.3%), and isokinetic dynamometer (13.6%). While 60% of the therapists used single-limbed hop for distance for evaluating functional capacity, only 27.1% used a hop test battery. Conclusions: The surveyed physical therapists in Saudi Arabia demonstrated variations in the current rehabilitation practices and RTS criteria post-ACLR. Over half of the surveyed therapists considered preoperative rehabilitation essential to postoperative outcomes. However, the therapists should update their perspective with current evidence-based practice regarding the RTS timeframe, psychological readiness assessment for RTS, and knee strength evaluation using objective measurements.

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The Effects of 2 Different Soft Tissue Mobilization Techniques on Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness in Male Recreational Athletes: A Single-Blinded Randomized Controlled Trial

Devrim Can Sarac, Umut Ziya Kocak, Deniz Bayraktar, Sercan Gucenmez, and Derya Özer Kaya

Context: Soft tissue mobilization is frequently employed for delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) management. Foam roller and percussive massage are 2 popular soft tissue mobilization methods preferred by various professionals. However, their effects on DOMS symptoms are controversial and there are no studies comparing these 2 methods. The aim of the present study was to compare the acute effects of soft tissue mobilization with a foam roller or a percussive massage device on DOMS in young male recreational athletes. Design: A parallel, single-blinded, randomized controlled trial. Methods: Thirty-six participants (median [interquartile range 25/75]; age: 20.0 [19.3/21.0] y) were randomly allocated to percussive massage group (n = 12), foam roller group (n = 12), and control group (n = 12). First, a fatigue protocol targeting quadriceps femoris was performed. Then, participants received soft tissue mobilization with foam roller/percussive massage or rested for 10 minutes according to their groups. Pain and fatigue were evaluated by a visual analog scale, and the skin surface temperature of over the quadriceps femoris was measured with thermal camera imaging. Evaluations were performed at baseline, following fatigue protocol, at 24th hour, and at 48th hour. Changes from the baseline at 24th and 48th hours were compared between groups. Results: No significant between-group differences were observed at the assessments performed at 24th or 48th hour regarding the changes from baseline in pain (P value for 24th hour = .905, P value for 48th hour = .733), fatigue (P value for 24th hour = .895, P value for 48th hour = .606), or skin surface temperature measurements (P values for 24th hour = between .300 and .925, P values for 48th hour = between .311 and .750). Conclusions: Soft tissue mobilizations applied with foam roller or percussive massage device do not seem to be superior to passive resting in alleviating DOMS symptoms in recreational athletes.

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The Seated Trunk Control Test: Investigation of Reliability and Known-Groups Validity Using Individuals Post-Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction

Travis R. Pollen, Chelsey Roe, Darren L. Johnson, Sheri P. Silfies, and Brian Noehren

Context: Decreased trunk neuromuscular control is a risk factor for both upper- and lower-extremity injuries, yet there are few reliable and valid clinical tests to identify deficits. Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine the reliability and known-groups validity of a novel clinical test, the seated trunk control test (STCT). Design: Cross-sectional reliability and known-groups validity study. Setting: Laboratory. Participants: 89 unique participants: 34 were 3 months postoperative anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR) and 55 healthy controls. Methods: For the STCT, participants sat on a balance board with their eyes closed for three 30-second trials while investigators counted balance errors. Intraclass correlations (ICCs) were used to assess interrater reliability (N = 20) and test–retest reliability (N = 40). To assess known-groups validity, independent t tests were used to compare STCT errors at 3 months post-ACLR with healthy matched controls (N = 34/group). Area under a receiver operating characteristic curve identified an optimal cutoff for distinguishing between groups. Results: The STCT had perfect interrater reliability (ICC2,3 = 1.00) and good test–retest reliability (ICC3,3 = .79; 95% confidence interval = .61–.89). The ACLR group made significantly more errors on the STCT (mean [SD] = 15.5 [5.4]) than controls (mean [SD] = 8.2 [4.1]; P < .001, Cohen d = 1.52). The STCT’s ability to distinguish between groups was excellent (area under a ROC curve = 0.86). A cutoff of 12 errors maximized sensitivity (76%) and specificity (85%). Conclusions: The STCT is reliable between raters and across days. It also has excellent ability to distinguish between individuals with a recent ACLR and healthy matched controls, which provides initial evidence to suggest that the STCT may be clinically useful for identifying deficits in trunk neuromuscular control.

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Response to “Comment on: Differences in Neurocognitive Functions Between Healthy Controls and Anterior Cruciate Ligament-Reconstructed Male Athletes Who Passed or Failed Return to Sport Criteria: A Preliminary Study”

Razieh Mofateh, Maryam Kiani Haft Lang, Neda Orakifar, and Shahin Goharpey

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Comment on: “Differences in Neurocognitive Functions Between Healthy Controls and Anterior Cruciate Ligament-Reconstructed Male Athletes Who Passed or Failed Return to Sport Criteria: A Preliminary Study”

Jérôme Murgier, Guillaume Zunzarren, and Bertrand Garet

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Changes in Hip and Knee Strength Are Not Associated With Improved Clinical Outcomes After Rehabilitation in Individuals With Patellofemoral Pain: A Critically Appraised Topic

Sungwan Kim, Evyn G. Callahan, Zachary C. Malone, Timothy J. Gilgallon, and Neal R. Glaviano

Clinical Scenario: Patellofemoral pain (PFP) is a widespread knee disorder encountered in clinical practice. Clinicians have often focused on strengthening hip and knee musculature to improve pain and disability, which are the ultimate clinical goals of PFP treatment. However, PFP literature has shown improvement in pain and disability without concurrent changes in lower-extremity strength after rehabilitation. Although some researchers have achieved a significant increase in strength after rehabilitation in PFP cohorts, there was no association with improved pain and disability. The inconsistent improvements in strength and the lack of association with clinical outcomes call for a critical appraisal of the available evidence to better understand the association between changes in hip and knee strength and improved clinical outcomes in individuals with PFP. Clinical Question: Are changes in hip and knee strength associated with improved pain and disability after rehabilitation in individuals with PFP? Summary of Key Findings: Four studies met the inclusion criteria and were included in the appraisal. Following rehabilitation, one study achieved strength improvements in knee extension. One study achieved strength improvements in knee extension, but not in hip external rotation and hip abduction. Two studies did not achieve strength improvements in hip external rotation, hip abduction, hip extension, or knee extension. All included studies achieved improvements in pain or disability after rehabilitation. None of the studies found a significant association between changes in hip and knee strength (either improved or not) and improved pain and disability. Clinical Bottom Line: There is consistent evidence that changes in hip and knee strength are not associated with improved clinical outcomes after rehabilitation in adults with PFP. Strength of Recommendation: Collectively, the body of evidence included is to answer the clinical question aligns with the strength of recommendation of B based on the Strength of Recommendation Taxonomy.

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Volume 32 (2023): Issue 8 (Nov 2023)

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Evaluation of the Value of the Y-Balance Test to Predict Lower Limb Injuries in Professional Male Footballers

Haniyeh Mohammadi, Raheleh Ghaffari, Abdolreza Kazemi, Hunter Bennett, and Mahdi Hosseinzadeh

Context: The aim of this prospective cohort study was to identify whether Y-Balance Test (YBT) performance and asymmetry are associated with lower limb injury in elite adult football athletes. Design: A prospective cohort study. Methods: Preseason YBT measures were obtained from 121 male footballers participating in National League One across the 2021–2022 season. Lower limb injuries were tracked across the season to determine the relationship between YBT variables and injury incidence using logistic regression analysis. The statistical significance level was .05. Results: The average YBT score was 111.0 (5.8) cm on the left limb and 112.0 (5.5) cm on the right limb, with an average asymmetry of 2.3 (1.4) cm. Athletes with lower YBT scores on both the left (odds ratio = 2.9; 95% confidence interval, 1.7 to 4.8: P ≤ .001) and right (odds ratio = 2.3; 95% confidence interval, 1.6 to 3.2: P ≤ .001) limbs were at a greater risk of injury. Similarly, athletes with greater amounts of asymmetry were also more likely to get injured (odds ratio = 2.1; 95% confidence interval, 1.3 to 3.3: P = .002). Conclusions: Results indicate that lower and asymmetrical YBT scores have a significant relationship with future lower limb injuries in professional male footballers. The YBT offers a simple, reliable, and effective screening tool that can be used by practitioners in football to help identify players at a greater risk of injury before the season commences.