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Caffeine Abstinence in Habituated Users: Cardiovascular Responses to Exercise With Blood Flow Restriction

Matthew A. Chatlaong, Daphney M. Carter, William M. Miller, Chance J. Davidson, and Matthew B. Jessee

Context: Blood flow restriction resistance exercise studies often require caffeine abstinence to avoid cardiovascular effects that could change the blood flow restriction stimulus. However, effects may be attenuated for habituated users. Objective: To compare cardiovascular responses to blood flow restriction resistance exercise when habituated users consume or abstain from caffeine. Design: Thirty participants completed a 3-visit within-subject study beginning with familiarization and caffeine intake questionnaire. Methods: Visits 2 and 3 consisted of blood flow restriction resistance exercise (3 sets bicep curls to failure, 30% 1-repetition max, 40% arterial occlusion pressure [AOP]), following participants’ normal caffeine consumption (CAFF) or abstaining (ABS). AOP, systolic (SBP) and diastolic (DBP) blood pressure, and heart rate were measured preexercise and postexercise. Prevalues and preexercise to postexercise change scores for SBP, DBP, AOP (all millimeters of mercury), heart rate (in beats per minute), and repetitions were compared between conditions. Results are represented as mean (SD). Results: Preexercise AOP was similar for CAFF (137.8 [14.4]) and ABS (137.1 [14.9], BF10 = 0.2), although pre-SBP was higher for CAFF (115.4 [9.8]) than ABS (112.3 [9.4], BF10 = 1.9). Pre-DBP was similar between conditions. The exercise-induced change in AOP was greater for CAFF (18.4 [11.2]) than ABS (13.2 [14.9]), though evidence was anecdotal (BF10 = 0.7). Exercise-induced changes in SBP, DBP, and heart rate were similar between conditions (all BF10 ≤ 0.40). More repetitions were completed for CAFF (63 [26]) than ABS (57 [17], BF10 = 2.1). Conclusions: The findings of this study suggest that for habituated users, maintaining daily caffeine habits will not have substantial effects on common cardiovascular variables relevant to blood flow restriction.

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The Influence of Psychological Factors on Physical Activity in Individuals With Patellofemoral Pain

Timothy J. Gilgallon, Sungwan Kim, and Neal R. Glaviano

Context: Patellofemoral pain (PFP) is a prevalent chronic condition characterized by retropatellar or peripatellar pain exacerbated by various knee flexion-based activities. Previous research has highlighted the impact of psychological constructs on pain and function in chronic musculoskeletal pain conditions, yet their influence on physical activity in PFP cohorts remains unexplored. We aimed to evaluate whether pain self-efficacy and pain catastrophizing predict variations in steps per day and moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) among individuals with PFP. Design: Cross-sectional observational study. Methods: Thirty-nine participants (11 males) with PFP were included. Dependent variables were steps per day and minutes of MVPA. Independent variables were pain self-efficacy and pain catastrophizing, measured by the pain self-efficacy questionnaire and the pain catastrophizing scale. Participants were given an ActiGraph wGT3X-BT for 7 days to assess physical activity. Correlations were assessed between psychological measures and physical activity, and a simple linear regression was performed on psychological variables that correlated with physical activity. Alpha was set a priori at P < .05. Results: Pain self-efficacy scores displayed a moderate association with steps per day (rho = .45, P = .004) and a weak association with MVPA (rho = .38, P = .014). Pain catastrophizing scores exhibited no significant associations with physical activity (P < .05). Regression models affirmed pain self-efficacy scores as significant predictors of both steps per day (F 1,37 = 10.30, P = .002) and MVPA (F 1,37 = 8.98, P = .004). Conclusions: Psychological measures continue to demonstrate value to clinicians treating PFP. Pain self-efficacy scores were moderately associated with steps per day and weakly associated with MVPA, explaining nearly a fifth of the variation in physical activity. Clinicians should prioritize the assessment of pain self-efficacy when treating individuals with PFP, potentially employing psychological interventions to improve physical activity in the PFP population.

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Isokinetic Peak Torque Improvement and Shoulder Muscle Ratios Imbalance Correction After Specific Strength Training on a New Ballistic Throwing Device: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Brahim Agrebi, Wissem Dhahbi, Hatem Abidi, Sofien Kasmi, Narjes Houas, Mokhtar Chtara, and Karim Chamari

Context: The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of 8-week ballistic-strength-training program using a validated specific throwing device (ie, Arm/Shoulder Specific Strength Device), on isokinetic shoulders’ rotation muscle-torques and ratios as well as range of motion in team handball players. Design: A repeated-measures experimental design with a randomized controlled trial was used. Methods: Twenty-six high-level competitive male U-19 team handball players were randomly assigned into training (TG, n = 15) and control (n = 11) groups. The TG undertook a twice a week for 8-week periodized throws program with an individually predetermined optimal load. The program incorporated shackled eccentric and concentric exercises using the Arm/Shoulder Specific Strength Device. Peak torques, functional, and conventional ratios for both arms at different angular velocities (60°·s−1, 180°·s−1, and 300°·s−1) were assessed over time and between groups, using an isokinetic dynamometer. Results: A significant improvement for TG (P < .01; d = 1.13 [moderate]; +20.2%) of the concentric peak torques for dominant arm in external rotation was observed at 300°·s−1. Significant (P < .05–.01) increases were also noted for nondominant arm at the 3 studied angular velocities. In addition, 300°·s−1 eccentric peak torques of the dominant arm and nondominant arm have significantly improved for both external and internal rotations (P < .05; d = .99 [moderate] and d = 1.21 [large]; +15.7% and + 17.9%, respectively) with small changes at the other angular assessed velocities. Posttraining, TG’s dominant arm showed significant improvements (P < .05–.01) in functional and conventional ratios at all velocities. Notably, significant differences (P < .05–.01) were observed at 60°·s−1 and across all velocities when comparing the TG with the control group. TG showed significant increase for internal rotation and external rotation shoulder range of motions (P < .05; d = 1.22–1.27 [large]), +5.0% and +7.7%, respectively). Conclusions: The specific 8-week throwing training program on the Arm/Shoulder Specific Strength Device showed significant performance improvements in almost all assessed isokinetic concentric and eccentric peak torques as well as internal and external range of motion increase for both arms while ensuring rotator cuff torque ratios and shoulder mobility in team handball real sport-specific condition.

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Reliability of Ultrasound Assessment of Hamstring Morphology, Quality, and Stiffness Among Healthy Adults and Athletes: A Systematic Review

Maria Belinda Cristina C. Fidel, Charidy S. Ramos, Donald G. Manlapaz, Helen Banwell, and Consuelo B. Gonzalez-Suarez

Context: The incidence and recurrence rate of hamstring strain injuries remain persistently high, with recurrent injuries leading to increased time lost during play and extended recovery periods compared with initial injury. Ultrasound imaging assesses important factors such as hamstring fascicle length (FL), pennation angle (PA), cross-sectional area (CSA), muscle thickness (MT), echo intensity (EI), and shear wave elastography (SWE), all impacting athletic performance. However, its reliability must be established before employing any measurement tool in research or clinical settings. Objectives: To determine the reliability and measurement error of ultrasound for assessing hamstring FL, PA, CSA, MT, EI, and SWE among healthy adults and athletes; to synthesize the information regarding the operationalization of ultrasound. Evidence Acquisition: A systematic literature search was done from January 1990 to February 5, 2023, to identify reliability and validity studies of hamstring ultrasound assessment published in peer-reviewed journals with identifiable methodology of outcome measures. Evidence Synthesis: Intraclass correlation coefficient measurement of 14 included studies reported moderate to excellent intrarater, interrater, and test–retest reliabilities of FL, PA, and MT regardless of the site of muscle testing, probe size, and setting, state of muscle, and use of different techniques in the extrapolation of FL. Good to excellent test–retest reliability rates for all hamstring anatomic CSA along midmuscle and different percentages of thigh length using panoramic imaging. Good intrarater reliability of EI regardless of gender and orientation of the probe but with excellent intrarater reliability in transverse scan using maximum region of interest. Good intrarater, interrater, and interday repeatability on SWE with the muscle in a stretched position. Conclusion: Evidence from studies with a predominantly low risk of bias shows that ultrasound is a reliable tool to measure hamstring FL, PA, CSA, MT, EI, and SWE in healthy adults and athletes under various experimental conditions.

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Test–Retest Reliability and Visual Perturbation Performance Costs During 2 Reactive Agility Tasks

Ellen M. Smith, David A. Sherman, Samantha Duncan, Andy Murray, Meredith Chaput, Amanda Murray, David M. Bazett-Jones, and Grant E. Norte

Context: High secondary injury rates after orthopedic surgeries have motivated concern toward the construct validity of return-to-sport test batteries, as it is evident that common strength and functional assessments fail to elicit pertinent behaviors like visual search and reactive decision making. This study aimed to establish the test–retest reliability of 2 reactive agility tasks and evaluate the impact of visual perturbation on physical performance. Methods: Fourteen physically active individuals completed 2 agility tasks with reaction time (ie, 4 corner agility), working memory, and pathfinding (ie, color recall) components. Participants completed both tasks 4 times in 2 sessions scheduled 7 days apart. Outcomes included performance metrics of reaction time, time to target, number of targets, and total time assessed with reactive training timing gates. To assess test–retest reliability, we used intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs), standard error of measurement (SEM), and minimal detectable change (MDC). Stroboscopic goggles induced visual perturbation during the fourth trial of each task. To assess the effect of visual perturbation, we used paired t tests and calculated performance costs. Results: The 4-corner agility task demonstrated excellent reliability with respect to reaction time (ICC3,1 = .907, SEM = 0.13, MDC = 0.35 s); time to light (ICC3,1 = .935, SEM = 0.07, MDC = 0.18 s); and number of lights (ICC3,1 = .800, SEM = 0.24, MDC = 0.66 lights). The color recall task demonstrated good-to-excellent test–retest reliability for time to lights (ICC3,1 = .818–.953, SEM = 0.07–0.27, MDC = 0.19–0.74 s); test time (ICC3,1 = .969, SEM = 5.43, MDC = 15.04 s); and errors (ICC3,1 = .882, SEM = 0.19, MDC = 0.53 errors). Visual perturbation resulted in increased time to target (P = .022–.011), number of targets (P = .039), and total test time (P = .013) representing moderate magnitude degradation of performance (d = 0.55–0.87, performance costs = 5%–12%). Conclusions: Both tasks demonstrated acceptable test–retest reliability. Performance degraded on both tasks with the presence of visual perturbation. These results suggest standardized reactive agility tasks are reliable and could be developed as components of dynamic RTS testing.

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Athletic Training Students’ Use of Evidence-Based Practice Professional Behaviors During Clinical Experiences: A Report From the Association for Athletic Training Education Research Network

Cailee E. Welch Bacon, Julie M. Cavallario, Stacy E. Walker, R. Curtis Bay, and Bonnie L. Van Lunen

With the incorporation of evidence-based practice (EBP) during patient care as a curricular content standard, professional programs must prepare athletic training students (ATSs) for the application of EBP during the delivery of patient care. We aimed to examine ATSs’ implementation of professional behaviors associated with EBP during patient encounters (PEs). Through a multisite panel design, we tracked numerous factors associated with PEs experienced by 363 ATSs of 12 professional athletic training programs. Generalized estimating equation models were used to analyze the likelihood that students included EBP behaviors during 30,522 PEs. Clinical site type (p < .001), student role (p < .001), and encounter length (p < .001) were associated with all three EBP professional behaviors while clinical site type (p < .001) was also associated with whether the ATS asked a question of a clinician, including their preceptor. Program administrators seeking to promote the greatest opportunities for ATSs to implement EBP during patient care should seek clinic-based or other nonacademic site types that promote longer PEs in which students can perform or assist their preceptor.

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Correlations of Postural Stability to Proprioception, Tactile Sensation, and Strength Among People With Chronic Ankle Instability

Yanhao Liu, Qipeng Song, Ziyin Liu, Shiyu Dong, Claire Hiller, Daniel T.P. Fong, and Peixin Shen

Objectives: The static and dynamic correlations of postural stability to its three potential contributors, namely, proprioception, tactile sensation, and strength remain unclear among people with chronic ankle instability (CAI). This study aimed to compare static and dynamic postural stability, along with proprioception, tactile sensation, and strength between people with and without CAI and explore their correlations. Methods: Sixty-seven participants with CAI and 67 participants without CAI were enrolled in this study. Ankle proprioception, plantar tactile sensation, and lower limb strength were measured by a proprioception test device, a set of monofilaments, and a strength testing system, respectively. Static and dynamic postural stability were measured during standing and jump landing on a force plate and indicated by the root mean square of center of pressure and time to stability. Results: Compared to people without CAI, people with CAI had poorer postural stability, proprioception, tactile sensation, and strength. Both groups demonstrated correlation between proprioception and static postural stability, but only people without CAI showed correlation between proprioception and dynamic postural stability. Both groups demonstrated a correlation between tactile sensation and static postural stability, but not with dynamic stability. Both groups demonstrated a correlation between strength and both static and dynamic postural stability. Conclusions: People with CAI had deficits in static and dynamic postural stability, proprioception, tactile sensation, and strength. Among people with CAI, proprioception, tactile sensation, and strength can help maintain static postural stability; strength can help maintain dynamic postural stability, whereas proprioception may not provide sufficient information for dynamic postural stability.

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Personal and Social Correlates of Self-Reported Physical Activity in Individuals With a History of Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction

Rachel R. Kleis, Deirdre Dlugonski, Matthew C. Hoch, Rachel Hogg-Graham, Stacey Slone, and Johanna M. Hoch

Physical activity is negatively impacted after anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury and subsequent reconstruction. Previous evidence suggests that individuals with a history of ACL reconstruction (ACLR) may experience additional barriers to sport and physical activity participation. The purpose of this study was to identify personal and social factors (physical literacy, social support, and knee function) that are predictive of self-reported physical activity in individuals with a history of ACLR. Bivariate analyses determined that elements of physical literacy and knee function were positively correlated with self-reported physical activity. The final stepwise linear regression model demonstrated that the PLAYself Physical Literacy Self-description subsection accounted for 12.2% of the variance of self-reported physical activity (p = .003). The significant effect of the PLAYself Physical Literacy Self-description remained (p = .002) even when additional demographic covariates (age, time since ACLR, and sex) were added to the model. Findings suggest that physical literacy may be a salient factor to consider for promoting physical activity after ACLR.

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Chronic Adaptions in Quadriceps Fascicle Mechanics Are Related to Altered Knee Biomechanics After Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction

McKenzie S. White, Lucia M. Mancini, Luke Stoneback, Riann M. Palmieri-Smith, and Lindsey K. Lepley

Following anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR), patients exhibit abnormal walking mechanics and quadriceps dysfunction. Quadriceps dysfunction has been largely attributed to muscle atrophy and weakness. While important, these factors do not capture intrinsic properties of muscle that govern its ability to generate force and withstand load. While fascicle abnormalities after ACLR have been documented in early stages of recovery (<12 mo), long-term effects of ACLR on fascicle mechanics remain unexplored. We evaluated quadriceps fascicle mechanics during walking 3 years post-ACLR and examined the relationship with knee mechanics. Participants included 24 individuals with ACLR and 24 Controls. Linear mixed models compared the ACLR, Contralateral, and Controls limbs for (1) quadriceps strength, (2) fascicle architecture and mechanics, and (3) knee mechanics. No difference in strength or overall fascicle length excursions was found between limbs. The ACLR limb exhibited longer fascicles at heel strike and peak knee extension moment (P < .001–.004), and smaller fascicle angles at heel strike, peak knee extension moment, and overall suppressed fascicle angle excursions (P < .001–.049) relative to the Contralateral and/or Control limb. This indicates an abnormality in fascicle architecture and mechanics following ACLR and suggests abnormalities in contractile function that cannot be explained by muscle weakness and may contribute to long-term gait irregularities.

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Measurement Position Influences Sex Comparisons of Distal Femoral Cartilage Thickness With Ultrasound Imaging

Harry S. Battersby, Ryan J. Evans, Iwi J. Eghobamien, and Derek N. Pamukoff

The purpose was to examine (1) the effect of measurement position and sex on femoral cartilage outcomes, and (2) the association between gait biomechanics and cartilage outcomes. Fifty individuals participated (25 males and 25 females; age = 20.62 [1.80] y). Ultrasound measured femoral cartilage thickness and echo-intensity at 90°, 115°, and 140° of knee flexion. Gait outcomes included the external knee adduction and knee flexion moments. Cartilage outcomes were compared using 2 (sex) × 3 (position) repeated-measures analysis of variance. Gait and cartilage associations were assessed using stepwise regression. Medial cartilage was thicker when measured at 90° compared with 115° (P = .02) and 140° (P < .01), and 115° compared with 140°, (P < .01) in males but not in females. Cartilage was thicker at 90° compared with 140° across both sexes within all regions (P < .01). Males had thicker cartilage than females in all positions (P < .01). Echo-intensity was lower at 90° than 115° (P < .01) and 140° (P = .01) in the central and lower at 90° than at 115° (P < .01) and 140° (P = .03) in lateral regions. No association was found between gait and cartilage outcomes. Ultrasound imaging position effects cartilage features more in males compared with females. Imaging position and sex influence cartilage outcomes and should be considered in study designs and clinical evaluation.