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Matheus Vianna, Leonardo Metsavaht, Eliane Guadagnin, Carlos Eduardo Franciozi, Marcus Luzo, Marcio Tannure, and Gustavo Leporace

Prior studies have explored the relationship between knee valgus and musculoskeletal variables to formulate injury prevention programs, primarily for females. Nonetheless, there is insufficient evidence pertaining to professional male soccer players. Here, the aim was to test the correlation of lateral trunk inclination, hip adduction, hip internal rotation, ankle dorsiflexion range of motion, and hip isometric strength with knee valgus during the single-leg vertical jump test. Twenty-four professional male soccer players performed a single-leg vertical hop test, hip strength assessments, and an ankle dorsiflexion range of motion test. A motion analysis system was employed for kinematic analysis. Maximal isometric hip strength and ankle dorsiflexion range of motion were tested using a handheld dynamometer and a digital inclinometer, respectively. The correlation of peak knee valgus with peak lateral trunk inclination was .43 during the landing phase (P = .04) and with peak hip internal rotation was −.68 (P < .001). For knee valgus angular displacement, only peak lateral trunk inclination presented a moderate positive correlation (r = .40, P = .05). This study showed that trunk and hip kinematics are associated with knee valgus, which could consequently lead to increased knee overload in male professional soccer players following a unilateral vertical landing test.

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Amy L. Curry, Suhyun Jang, Michael P. Monahan, and Matthew J. Rivera

Clinical Scenario: Hamstring range of motion (ROM) and the influence it has on injury risk is among great discussion in the literature. Hamstring injury may result from hamstring tightness, poor flexibility, or decreased ROM, and many argue that this can be prevented through various intervention strategies. In active populations, risk of further injury, pain, and complications throughout the kinetic chain can occur if minimal hamstring ROM is left untreated. One therapeutic intervention that has been applied to varying parts of the body to help improve function while relieving pain is dry needling (DN). This intervention includes the application of needles to structures to induce responses that might benefit healing and overall stimulation of a neurological response. In this review, the intent is to identify evidence and the effects of DN on hamstring ROM. Clinical Question: What are the effects of DN on hamstring ROM? Summary of Key Findings: Among total 11 articles, 1 single-blinded randomized controlled trial and 2 double-blinded randomized controlled trials were included in this critically appraised topic. All 3 articles had inconclusive evidence to isolate the application of the DN intervention. There was insufficient evidence to identify if DN independently improved hamstring ROM; however, in combination with interventions such as exercise and stretch plans, there were improvements on ROM. Clinical Bottom Line: DN does not significantly increase or decrease the ROM of the hamstrings. When combined with exercise and stretch plans, DN could increase ROM. Strength of Recommendation: The grade of B is recommended by the Strength of Recommendation Taxonomy for inconsistent or limited-quality patient-oriented evidence.

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Paola Adamo, Federico Temporiti, Martina Maffeis, Francesco Bolzoni, and Roberto Gatti

Shoulder complex stability can be estimated in vivo through the analysis of helical axes (HAs) dispersion during upper limb movements. The study aimed at investigating test–retest reliability of shoulder HAs dispersion parameters during upper limb tasks. Twenty healthy volunteers performed 2 intransitive (shoulder flexion and rotation) and one transitive (combing) tasks with the dominant and nondominant upper limbs during 2 recording sessions at 1-week distance. Kinematics was detected through an optoelectronic system. Mean distance and mean angle (MA) were adopted as HAs dispersion indexes. Reliability was excellent for mean distance (intraclass correlation coefficient [ICC]: .91) and MA (ICC: .92) during dominant flexion, and good for MA (ICC: .90) during nondominant flexion. Moderate reliability was found for HAs parameters during rotation (ICCs from .70 to .59), except for MA during dominant rotation where reliability was poor. Reliability was good for mean distance (ICC: .83) and moderate for MA (ICC: .67) during the dominant combing task, whereas no reliability was found during the nondominant combing task. HAs dispersion parameters revealed high reliability during simple intransitive tasks with the dominant limb. Reliability decreased with the increase in task complexity due to the increase in movement variability. HAs dispersion technique could be used to assess shoulder complex stability in patients after rehabilitation or surgery.

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Sarah B. Willwerth, Landon B. Lempke, Vipul Lugade, William P. Meehan III, David R. Howell, and Alexandra F. DeJong Lempke

Context: Single- and dual-task walking gait assessments have been used to identify persistent movement and cognitive dysfunction among athletes with concussions. However, it is unclear whether previous ankle sprain injuries confound these outcomes during baseline testing. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of (1) ankle sprain history and (2) time since prior ankle sprain injury on single- and dual-task spatiotemporal gait outcomes and cognitive measures. Design: Cross-sectional study. Methods: We assessed 60 college Division-I athletes (31 with ankle sprain history; 13 females and 18 males, 19.3 [0.8] y; 29 with no ankle sprain history, 14 females and 15 males, 19.7 [0.9] y) who completed injury history forms and underwent concussion baseline testing. Athletes completed single- and dual-task gait assessments by walking back and forth along an 8-m walkway for 40 seconds. Athletes wore a smartphone with an associated mobile application on their lumbar spine to record spatiotemporal gait parameters and dual-task cognitive performance. Separate multivariate analyses of variance were used to assess the effects of ankle sprain injury history on spatiotemporal measures, gait variability, and cognitive performance. We performed a multivariate regression subanalysis on athletes who reported time since injury (n = 23) to assess temporal effects on gait and cognitive performance. Results: Athletes with and without a history of ankle sprains had comparable spatiotemporal and gait variability outcomes during single- (P = .42; P = .13) and dual-task (P = .75; P = .55) conditions. Additionally, ankle sprain injury history did not significantly influence cognitive performance (P = .35). Finally, time since ankle sprain did not significantly affect single- (P = .75) and dual-task gait (P = .69), nor cognitive performance (P = .19). Conclusions: Ankle sprain injury history did not significantly alter spatiotemporal gait outcomes nor cognitive performance during this common clinical assessment. Future studies may consider including athletes with ankle sprain injury history during concussion assessments.

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John W. Evers-Smith and Kevin C. Miller

Clinical Scenario: Exercise-associated muscle cramps (EAMC) are sudden, painful, and involuntary contractions of skeletal muscles during or after physical activity. The best treatment for EAMC is gentle static stretching until abatement. Stretching is theorized to relieve EAMC by normalizing alpha motor neuron control, specifically by increasing Golgi tendon organ activity, and physically separating contractile proteins. However, it is unclear if stretching or flexibility training prevents EAMC via the same mechanisms. Despite this, many clinicians believe prophylactic stretching prevents EAMC occurrence. Clinical Question: Do athletes who experience EAMC during athletic activities perform less prophylactic stretching or flexibility training than athletes who do not develop EAMC during competitions? Summary of Key Findings: In 3 cohort studies and 1 case-control study, greater preevent muscle flexibility, stretching, or flexibility training (ie, duration, frequency) was not predictive of who developed EAMC during competition. In one study, athletes who developed EAMC actually stretched more often and 9 times longer (9.8 [23.8] min/wk) than noncrampers (1.1 [2.5] min/wk). Clinical Bottom Line: There is minimal evidence that the frequency or duration of prophylactic stretching or flexibility training predicts which athletes developed EAMC during competition. To more effectively prevent EAMC, clinicians should identify athletes’ unique intrinsic and extrinsic risk factors and target those risk factors with interventions. Strength of Recommendation: Minimal evidence from 3 prospective cohort studies and 1 case-control study (mostly level 3 studies) that suggests prophylactic stretching or flexibility training can predict which athletes develop EAMC during athletic competitions.

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Kylie S. Boldt, Bernadette L. Olson, and Ryan M. Thiele

Clinical Scenario: Achilles tendon ruptures are prevalent and devastating injuries that require the need for extensive rehabilitation. The methods for preventing these injuries vary between different exercise methods and nutritional supplementation. Although proven effective for decreasing pain and increasing tendon properties, the influence of these 2 methods in combination has not yet been evaluated. Clinical Question: Does exercise combined with collagen supplementation improve Achilles tendon structural and mechanical properties and diminish subsequent patient-reported pain compared with exercise alone in adults? Summary of Key Findings: Exercise training, including eccentric training protocols and concentric resistance training protocols, combined with collagen supplementation influence Achilles tendon properties and subsequent patient-reported pain compared with exercise alone. Clinical Bottom Line: Evidence supports that collagen along with exercise training has a significant influence on pain mitigation, augmented cross-sectional area, and tendon thickness, but may have little to no influence on tendon stiffness and microvascularity compared with exercise alone. Further research is needed to determine the effects of combined methods on various populations. Strength of Recommendation: Collectively, the body of evidence included to answer the clinical question aligns with the strength of recommendation of A.

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Michael Girdwood, Benjamin F. Mentiplay, Mark J. Scholes, Joshua J. Heerey, Kay M. Crossley, Michael J.M. O’Brien, Zuzana Perraton, Anik Shawdon, and Joanne L. Kemp

Context: Hip and groin injuries are common in field sports such as football, with measurement of hip strength and range of motion (ROM) recommended for assessment of these conditions. We aimed to report hip strength, hip ROM, and functional task performance in young elite Australian football athletes. Design: Cross-sectional study. Methods: Fifty-eight newly drafted Australian Football League athletes completed hip abduction, adduction, internal rotation, external rotation, and flexion strength testing with an adjustable stabilized or hand-held dynamometer. Hip internal rotation and external rotation, bent knee fall out, and ankle dorsiflexion ROM were also measured. Players completed hop for distance, side bridge, and star excursion balance functional tests. We compared findings between the dominant and nondominant limbs. Results: We found small deficits unlikely to be clinically meaningful in the dominant limb for hip abduction and adduction strength, and a small deficit in the nondominant limb for external rotation strength and side bridge time. Athletes had lower hip internal rotation (mean difference 2.56°; 95% confidence interval, 0.87 to 4.26) and total rotation ROM (2.03°; 95% confidence interval, 0.06 to 4.01) on the dominant limb. Conclusions: There were no meaningful differences between dominant and nondominant limbs for hip strength, ROM, or functional tests. Our results may be used for benchmarking young male Australian football athletes when targeting optimal strength and returning from injury.

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Kelley R. Wiese, Jatin P. Ambegaonkar, and Joel Martin

Clinical Scenario: Dancing is a demanding esthetic activity with dancers having an 85% annual injury incident rate when performing complex dance motor skills. Teachers and clinicians use a combination of external and internal attentional cues when teaching dancers motor skills and when working on rehabilitation programs with injured dancers, respectively. External attentional focus (ie, focusing on movement outcome) reportedly results in superior performance than internal attentional focus (ie, focus on body movements). Interestingly, dancers reportedly often adopt an internal focus when dancing. Still, limited literature exists examining the effects of attentional focus on dancers’ performance. Clinical Question: How does attentional focus (external or internal) impact performance in dancers? Summary of Key Findings: Four original quasi-experimental studies met inclusion criteria. In the current examination, we found mixed results about the impact of attentional focus in dancers. Specifically, using an external attentional focus resulted in better performance in 2 studies, but these findings were limited to lesser experienced dancers. Experienced dancers did not have any physical performance differences when using external or internal focus. Internal focus also did not negatively affect dancers’ performance in 2 studies. Some authors noted positive motivational effects (eg, increased perceived competence) when dancers used external focus. Clinical Bottom Line: Low-quality evidence exists supporting the notion that in less experienced dance students, external focus improves performance. In experienced dancers, the type of attentional focus did not impact performance. External focus provides positive mental effects. Thus, clinicians working with dancers can integrate individualized feedback according to dancer level, with a preference toward external focus due to positive mental effects, to design optimal training and rehabilitation programs. Strength of Recommendation: Grade B evidence exists supporting the notion that an external attentional focus improves performance in less experienced dance students and also has positive mental effects. Internal attentional focus does not impede experienced dancers’ performance.