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The Effect of Staged Versus Usual Care Physiotherapy on Knee Function Following Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction

Kestrel McNeill, Hana Marmura, Melanie Werstine, Greg Alcock, Trevor Birmingham, Kevin Willits, Alan Getgood, Marie-Eve LeBel, Robert Litchfield, Dianne Bryant, and J. Robert Giffin

Context: The long duration and high cost of anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR) rehabilitation can pose barriers to completing rehabilitation, the latter stages of which progress to demanding sport-specific exercises critical for a safe return to sport. A staged approach shifting in-person physiotherapy sessions to later months of recovery may ensure patients undergo the sport-specific portion of ACLR rehabilitation. Design/Objective: To compare postoperative outcomes of knee function in patients participating in a staged ACLR physiotherapy program to patients participating in usual care physiotherapy through a randomized controlled trial. Methods: One hundred sixty-two patients were randomized to participate in staged (n = 80) or usual care physiotherapy (n = 82) following ACLR and assessed preoperatively and postoperatively at 2 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 months, and 6 months. The staged group completed the ACLR rehabilitation protocol at home for the first 3 months, followed by usual care in-person sessions. The usual care group completed in-person sessions for their entire rehabilitation. Outcome measures included the Lower Extremity Functional Scale, International Knee Documentation Committee Questionnaire, pain, range of motion, strength, and hop testing. Results: There were no statistically significant between-group differences in measures of knee function at 6 months postoperative. Patients in the usual care group reported significantly higher International Knee Documentation Committee scores at 3 months postoperative (mean difference = 5.8; 95% confidence interval,  1.3 to 10.4; P = .01). Conclusion: A staged approach to ACLR rehabilitation does not appear to impede knee function at 6 months postoperative but may result in worse patient reported outcomes at early follow-ups.

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Volume 32 (2023): Issue 7 (Sep 2023)

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Intrarater and Interrater Reliability and Agreement of a Method to Quantify Lower-Extremity Kinematics Using Remote Data Collection

Margaret S. Harrington, Ikeade C. Adeyinka, and Timothy A. Burkhart

Context: To assess the reliability of a remote 2D markerless motion tracking method (Kinovea) to quantify knee and hip angles during dynamic tasks. Methods: Fourteen healthy adults performed body weight squats and lateral lunges while video recording themselves at home. Knee and hip angles were quantified in the sagittal plane for the squats and in the frontal plane for the lateral lunges. Two students each performed the video analysis procedure twice, 2 weeks apart. Intraclass correlation coefficients were used to calculate the intrarater and interrater reliability for angles at maximum depth. The intrarater and interrater agreement over the joint angle–time signals were quantified using a validation metric; an acceptable agreement threshold was set at a validation metric of 0.803 or higher. Standard error of measurement (SEM) was also calculated. Results: Reliability was good to excellent (intraclass correlation coefficients = .80–.98) for all angle comparisons at maximum depth. The agreement over the entire joint angle–time signal was acceptable for all squat variables except for the interrater hip angle comparison (validation metric = 0.797). None of the lateral lunge variables met the threshold of acceptable agreement. The mean SEM across participants for all joint angle–time signal and for maximum depth was acceptable (<5°) for all measurements (SEM = 1.2°–4.9°). Conclusions: Overall, the reliability, agreement, and SEM quantified in this study support the integration of remote methods to quantify lower-extremity kinematics into research and clinical practice.

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Reliability and Concurrent Validity of Smartphone Clinometer Application for Measuring Scapular Rotations in Subjects With and Without Shoulder Pain

Varmeet Kaur, Meena Makhija, and Vandana Phadke

Context:  Clinical assessment of scapular motion is obscured by a lack of clinically accessible and feasible angular measurement tools. This study evaluates the reliability and validity of the smartphone “Clinometer” app in measuring scapular upward rotation (UR) and anteroposterior tilt. Design: Psychometric analysis. Methods: We recruited 57 participants—10 with and 47 without shoulder pain. Two physical therapists consecutively measured both scapular movements using the Clinometer app at the arm by the side (rest), 30°, 60°, 90°, and 120° of humeral elevation in the scapular plane; one therapist measured again after 2 days. For evaluating concurrent validity, we compared the Clinometer scores with those measured using an electromagnetic motion capture system in 10 healthy participants. Intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC) with standard error of measurement (SEM) and minimal detectable difference at 90% confidence intervals (MDD90) were calculated. Concurrent validity was evaluated using repeated-measures analysis of variance followed by post hoc testing with Tukey–Kramer test (P < .05). Results: We observed good intrarater reliability (ICC: UR = .76–.85, tilt = .69–.9; SEM: 2.2°–3.5°; MDD90: ∼5°–8°) and moderate to good interrater reliability (ICC: UR = .66–.78, tilt = .66–.76; SEM: 3.6°–8°; MDD90: ∼9°–18°) for both rotations. The Clinometer scores for UR were comparable to electromagnetic motion capture system at all angles except 90° (difference ∼8°); for scapular tilt, the scores were comparable only at rest and 30° elevation. Conclusion: The Clinometer app is reliable and valid for measuring scapular UR throughout and for scapular tilt at lower humeral elevation angles. The MDD90 values for scapular rotations computed in this study can be helpful in rehabilitation planning and future research.

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Greek Cross-Cultural Adaptation, Reliability, and Validity of the Quick Foot and Ankle Ability Measure Questionnaire

George A. Koumantakis, Anastasios Galazoulas, Marios Stefanakis, Eleftherios Paraskevopoulos, George Gioftsos, and Maria Papandreou

Context: An easy-to-administer, function-based questionnaire to assess patients with various foot problems was required for a Greek-speaking population. This study aimed to translate and cross-culturally adapt the Quick Foot and Ankle Ability Measure (Quick-FAAM) into Greek and evaluate its reliability and validity. Design: Cross-sectional study. Methods: Established international guidelines for the cross-cultural adaptation of questionnaires were followed. The face and content validity of the Greek version of the Quick-FAAM (Quick-FAAM-GR), as well as the internal consistency and test–retest reliability upon repeated administration after 5 days, were examined. In addition, the construct validity of the scale was examined via exploratory factor analysis as well as by testing for associations with the Manchester Foot Pain and Disability Index, the 12-item Short-Form Survey (version 2), and a functional balance assessment test—the Y-Balance Test. Results: Sixty participants (18 women) with self-reported chronic ankle instability symptoms, with a median (interquartile range) age of 27 (7.7) years, participated in the study. Half of the participants were included in the test–retest reliability study. The Quick-FAAM-GR demonstrated face and content validity. Excellent internal consistency (Cronbach α = .961) and intrarater test–retest reliability (intraclass correlation coefficient ICC[2,1] = .93) were demonstrated, with a comparable error margin to the original version (standard error of the measurement = 2.1, 95% minimum detectable change = 5.9). Associations of the Quick-FAAM-GR scores to other questionnaires ranged from weak to strong (Spearman rho), all being statistically significant (Manchester Foot Pain and Disability Index from −.26, P = .04, to −.67, P < .001, and 12-item Short-Form Survey, version 2, between .41 and .72, P < .001), and to the Y-Balance Test between lower-limb differences (−.35 to −.58, P < .001). The exploratory factor analysis confirmed the single-factor structure of this scale. No floor/ceiling effects were observed. Conclusions: The Greek Quick-FAAM has proven to be a valid and reliable tool for evaluating chronic ankle instability and can be used for clinical and research purposes in Greek-speaking individuals.

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Understanding the Sociocognitive Determinants Underlying Intentions to Exercise for Postconcussion Symptom Relief: An Application of the Theory of Planned Behavior

Kannan Singaravelu Jaganathan, Karen A. Sullivan, Jamie Greenslade, Katie L. McMahon, Gary Mitchell, and Graham Kerr

Context: This study investigated individual sociocognitive factors from the theory of planned behavior and their relationship to exercise for postconcussion recovery. Design and Methods: Four hundred and fifty-nine Australian adults, two-thirds of whom had no concussion history (66%), completed an online survey of their beliefs and attitudes toward exercise for postconcussion recovery. Secondary questions evaluated program design features that could affect engagement (eg, session frequency). Results: Structured equation modeling found that subjective norms were the strongest significant predictor of intention to participate in exercise for postconcussion recovery. Perceived behavioral control was also a significant predictor of intention to participate but to a lesser extent. Attitude did not predict participation intention. The design features identified as key were personalization and being supervised during the program. Conclusions: This study found that people’s intention to participate in a program of exercise postconcussion recovery is shaped by individual psychological factors and identified program design features that could be adjusted for increased engagement. Program success could be maximized through strategies such as supporting individuals to have a stronger sense of control over their participation through the choice of session timing or frequency and harnessing the influence of significant others via supportive messaging from key professionals.

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Conservative Approach to Treating American Football Players With Medial Collateral Ligament Grade 2 Sprain During the Season

Lucas Bianco, Eden Jahn, and Shannon Renninger

Context: The medial collateral ligament is the most commonly injured ligament in the knee. The high-speed pivoting and agility movements that are common in the sport of American Football put participants at an increased risk for a valgus force stress from contact or noncontact injuries. Positional release therapy (PRT) also considered strain/counterstrain focuses on releasing the tension in a tissue through unloading the involved body part. Case Presentation: Two male student-athletes participating in football with a mean age of 20.5 years were diagnosed by a physician with medial collateral ligament grade 2 sprain. Both patients sustained their injuries in a regular season game with a contact valgus force from an opposing player. Management and Outcomes: After the initial 72 hours of compression, elevation, and cryotherapy, the patients were both treated with PRT followed by progressive loading exercises. Following 4 treatment sessions of PRT over the next 6 days, the patients started with quadriceps engagement exercises, single-leg squats to 60° knee flexion, side steps, triceps dips, slow controlled lunges, and toe walk. The patients progressed to full body weight squats, single-leg landing, step-up tri-extension, and sidekicks with a leg on table. Then, the patients completed function movements and sports-specific exercises. Conclusions: In this case series, 2 patients competing in intercollege American Football were treated with PRT and progressive loading exercises to facilitate return to unrestricted activities and improve outcome measures. Commonly, a grade 2 medial collateral ligament sprain is conservatively treated with return to sport taking 20 days on average. In this type 2 case series, the clinician found success utilizing PRT early in the recovery process, which in these 2 cases lead to restoration of function, outcome measure improvement, and an expedited return to sport. The expedited return to sport occurred at an average of 18 days for these patients.

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Effect of Low-Load Blood Flow Restriction Training on Patients With Functional Ankle Instability: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Ziliang Wen, Jiang Zhu, Xuelian Wu, Bing Zheng, Li Zhao, Xin Luo, and Zonghui Wu

Context: Decreased muscle strength and balance in patients with functional ankle instability (FAI) can be effectively improved by ankle strength training. Low-load blood flow restriction (LL-BFR) training increases muscle size and strength, but there is limited evidence from studies on muscle strength and balance in FAI patients. Objective: To study the effects of LL-BFR training versus high-load training (HLT) on muscle strength and balance in FAI patients. Design: Randomized controlled trial. Participants: Forty-six young adults with a history of FAI. Interventions: Participants in the LL-BFR and HLT groups performed 4 sets (30 × 15 × 15 × 15) of ankle training at 20% to 40% of the one-repetition maximum and 70% to 85% one-repetition maximum, respectively, twice a week for 6 weeks. Main Outcome Measure(s): Plantar flexion, dorsiflexion, inversion, and eversion muscle strength, and the Y-balance test scores were assessed at baseline and after 3 and 6 weeks; the thickness of the tibialis anterior, triceps surae, and peroneus longus muscles were assessed at baseline and after 6 weeks. Results: Inversion, eversion, dorsiflexion, and plantar flexion muscle strength; tibialis anterior, triceps surae, and peroneus longus thickness; and Y-balance test scores were significantly increased in the LL-BFR group after 3 and 6 weeks compared with baseline (P < .05), with no significant difference between the LL-BFR and HLT groups after 6 weeks (P > .05). However, at the end of 3 weeks, eversion muscle strength and Y-balance test scores were significantly higher in the LL-BFR group than in the HLT group (P < .05). Conclusions: Over 6 weeks, LL-BFR training was as effective as HLT in improving ankle muscle strength, muscle thickness, and balance in FAI patients, but LL-BFR training improved the ankle eversion muscle strength and dynamic balance more than HLT did in the early stages of the intervention. This finding will provide a new intervention strategy for the clinical rehabilitation of FAI patients.

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Effects of A Single Balance Training Session on Neural Excitability in Individuals With Chronic Ankle Instability

Sunghoon Chung, Avery Rodriguez, Elham Alijanpour, and Ryan S. McCann

Context: Individuals with chronic ankle instability (CAI) demonstrate reduced spinal reflex modulation and corticospinal excitability of the soleus, which may contribute to decreased balance performance. Objective: To determine the effects of a single session of balance training on Spinal-reflexive excitability modulation and corticospinal excitability in those with CAI. Design: Randomized controlled trials. Setting: Research laboratory. Participants: Thirty participants with CAI were randomly assigned to the balance training (BAL) or control (CON) group. Main Outcome Measures: Modulation of soleus spinal-reflexive excitability was measured by calculating relative change in normalized Hoffmann reflexes (ratio of the H-reflex to the M-wave) from prone to single-leg standing. Corticospinal excitability was assessed during single-leg stance using transcranial magnetic stimulation, outcomes of which included active motor threshold (AMT), motor evoked potential, and cortical silent period (CSP). Balance performance was measured with center of pressure velocity in anterior to posterior and medial to lateral directions. Separate 2 × 2 repeated-measures analyses of variance were employed to determine the effect of group (BAL and CON) and time (baseline and posttraining) on each dependent variable. Results: There were significant group by time interactions in the modulation of soleus spinal-reflexive excitability (F 1,27 = 4.763, P = .04); CSP at 100% AMT (F 1,27 = 4.727, P = .04); and CSP at 120% AMT (F 1,27 = 16.057, P < .01). A large effect size suggests increased modulation of spinal-reflexive excitability (d = 0.81 [0.03 to 1.54]) of the soleus in BAL compared with CON at posttest, while CSP at 100% (d = 0.95 [0.17 to 1.70]) and 120% AMT (d = 1.10 [0.29 to 1.84]) was reduced in BAL when compared with CON at posttest. Conclusion: After a single session of balance training, individuals with CAI initiated increases in spinal reflex modulation and corticospinal excitability of the soleus. Thus, individuals with CAI who undergo balance training exhibit positive neural adaptations that are linked to improvements in balance performance.

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Return to Sport and Clinical Outcomes Following Osteochondral Autograft Transplantation in Baseball Players and Gymnasts With Unstable Osteochondritis Dissecans: A Critically Appraised Topic

Natalie L. Myers, Sean M. Kennedy, Luke D. Thorburn, John E. Conway, and J. Craig Garrison

Clinical Scenario: Osteochondritis dissecans (OCD) of the capitellum is a condition occurring at the elbow and often seen in both baseball players and gymnasts due to the repetitive loading of the radiocapitellar joint. Treatment options for OCD vary and are dependent on lesion presentation, elbow motion, and growth plate maturity. OCD lesions categorized as unstable can be treated with an osteochondral autograft transplantation surgery (OATS). Focused Clinical Question : In an adolescent population, what are the return to sport rates and clinical outcomes following OATS in baseball players and gymnasts with unstable OCD lesions? Summary of Key Findings : Three articles met the inclusion criteria for this appraisal, and all indicate an OATS procedure should be considered in the management of unstable OCD lesions. Return to play outcomes were favorable for both baseball players and gymnasts. Self-reported patient function and elbow extension all improved following an OATS. Clinical Bottom Line : An OATS procedure is a favorable option for the management of OCD lesions of the elbow in baseball players and gymnasts. Strength of Recommendation : There is level B evidence to support return to sport and clinical outcomes in baseball players and gymnasts following an OATS procedure. This score is directly related to the quality of evidence that currently exists on the topic.