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Louisa D. Raisbeck, Jed A. Diekfuss, Dustin R. Grooms and Randy Schmitz

Context: Although the beneficial effects of using an external focus of attention are well documented in attainment and performance of movement execution, neural mechanisms underlying external focus’ benefits are mostly unknown. Objective: To assess brain function during a lower-extremity gross motor movement while manipulating an internal and external focus of attention. Design: Cross-over study. Setting: Neuroimaging center Participants: A total of 10 healthy subjects (5 males and 5 females) Intervention: Participants completed external and internal focus of attention unilateral left 45° knee extension/flexion movements at a rate of 1.2 Hz laying supine in a magnetic resonance imaging scanner for 4 blocks of 30 seconds interspersed with 30-second rest blocks. During the internal condition, participants were instructed to “squeeze their quadriceps.” During the external condition, participants were instructed to “focus on a target” positioned above their tibia. Main Outcome Measures: T1 brain structural imaging was performed for registration of the functional data. For each condition, 3T functional magnetic resonance imaging blood oxygenation level dependent data representing 90 whole-brain volumes were acquired. Results: During the external relative to internal condition, increased activation was detected in the right occipital pole, cuneal cortex, anterior portion of the lingual gyrus, and intracalcarine cortex (Z max = 4.5–6.2, P < .001). During the internal relative to external condition, increased activation was detected in the left primary motor cortex, left supplementary motor cortex, and cerebellum (Z max = 3.4–3.5, P < .001). Conclusions: Current results suggest that an external focus directed toward a visual target produces more brain activity in regions associated with vision and ventral streaming pathways, whereas an internal focus manipulated through instruction increases activation in brain regions that are responsible for motor control. Results from this study serve as baseline information for future prevention and rehabilitation investigations of how manipulating focus of attention can constructively affect neuroplasticity during training and rehabilitation.

Open access

Pier Paolo Mariani, Luca Laudani, Jacopo E. Rocchi, Arrigo Giombini and Andrea Macaluso

Context: All rehabilitative programs before anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstructive surgery, which are focused on recovery of proprioception and muscular strength, are defined as prehabilitation. While it has shown that prehabilitation positively affects the overall outcome after ACL reconstruction, it is still controversial whether preoperatively enhancing quadriceps strength has some beneficial effect on postoperative strength, mainly during the first period. Objective: To determine whether there is any relationship between preoperative and early postoperative quadriceps strength. Design: Case control. Setting: University research laboratory. Participants: Fifty-nine males (18–33 y; age: 23.69 [0.71] y) who underwent ACL reconstruction with patellar-tendon autograft were examined the day before surgery, and at 60 and 90 days after surgery. Main Outcome Measures: The limb symmetry index (LSI) was quantified for maximal voluntary isometric contraction of the knee extensor muscles and of the knee flexor muscles at 90° joint angle. A k-means analysis was performed on either quadriceps or hamstrings LSI before surgery to classify the patients in high and low preoperative LSI clusters. Differences in postoperative LSI were then evaluated between the high and low preoperative LSI clusters. Results: Following surgery, there were no differences in the quadriceps LSI between patients with high and low preoperative quadriceps LSI. Sixty days after surgery, the hamstrings LSI was higher in patients with high than low preoperative hamstrings LSI (84.0 [13.0]% vs 75.4 [15.9]%; P < .05). Conclusions: Findings suggest that quadriceps strength deficit is related to the ACL injury and increases further after the reconstruction without any correlation between the preoperative and postoperative values. Therefore, it appears that there is no need to delay surgery in order to increase the preoperative quadriceps strength before surgery.

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Lauren A. Brown, Eric E. Hall, Caroline J. Ketcham, Kirtida Patel, Thomas A. Buckley, David R. Howell and Srikant Vallabhajosula

Context: Sports often involve complex movement patterns, such as turning. Although cognitive load effects on gait patterns are well known, little is known on how it affects biomechanics of turning gait among athletes. Such information could help evaluate how concussion affects turning gait required for daily living and sports. Objective: To determine the effect of a dual task on biomechanics of turning while walking among college athletes. Design: Cross-sectional study. Setting: University laboratory. Participants: Fifty-three participants performed 5 trials of a 20-m walk under single- and dual-task conditions at self-selected speed with a 180° turn at 10-m mark. The cognitive load included subtraction, spelling words backward, or reciting the months backward. Interventions: Not applicable. Main Outcome Measures: Turn duration, turning velocity, number of steps, SD of turn duration and velocity, and coefficient of variation of turn duration and velocity. Results: Participants turned significantly slower (155.99 [3.71] cm/s vs 183.52 [4.17] cm/s; P < .001) and took longer time to complete the turn (2.63 [0.05] s vs 2.33 [0.04] s; P < .001) while dual tasking, albeit taking similar number of steps to complete the turn. Participants also showed more variability in turning time under the dual-task condition (SD of turn duration = 0.39 vs 0.31 s; P = .004). Conclusions: Overall, college athletes turned slower and showed more variability during turning gait while performing a concurrent cognitive dual-task turning compared with single-task turning. The slower velocity increased variability may be representative of specific strategy of turning gait while dual tasking, which may be a result of the split attention to perform the cognitive task. The current study provides descriptive values of absolute and variability turning gait parameters for sports medicine personnel to use while they perform their concussion assessments on their college athletes.

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Thomas G. Almonroeder, Emily Watkins and Tricia Widenhoefer

Context: The bodyweight squat exercise is a common component for treatment and prevention of patellofemoral pain; however, it can also place a high load on the patellofemoral joint. Restricting anterior motion of the knees relative to the toes during squatting appears to reduce patellofemoral loading. However, exercise professionals typically rely on verbal instructions to alter squat technique. Objective: To evaluate the influence of verbal instructions regarding squat technique on patellofemoral joint loading. Design: Cross-sectional study. Setting: Motion analysis laboratory. Participants: Eleven uninjured females. Intervention: Participants performed bodyweight squats before (baseline) and after receiving verbal instructions to limit anterior knee motion. Two different types of verbal instruction were used, one intended to promote an internal focus of attention and the other intended to promote an external focus of attention. Three-dimensional kinematics and kinetics were recorded using a multicamera system and force plate. Main Outcome Measures: Sagittal plane patellofemoral joint forces and stress were estimated using a musculoskeletal model. Results: Participants demonstrated a reduction in patellofemoral joint forces (35.4 vs 31.3 N/kg; P = .01) and stress (10.7 vs 9.2 mPa; P = .002) after receiving instructions promoting an internal focus of attention, compared with their baseline trials. Participants also demonstrated a reduction in patellofemoral joint forces (35.4 vs 32.3 N/kg; P = .03) and stress (10.7 vs 9.6 mPa; P = .04) after receiving instructions promoting an external focus of attention (vs baseline). However, there were no significant differences in patellofemoral forces (P = .84) or stress (P = .41) for trials performed with an internal versus external attentional focus. Conclusion: It appears that verbal instruction regarding knee position influences patellofemoral joint loading during squatting.

Open access

Marissa L. Mason, Marissa N. Clemons, Kaylyn B. LaBarre, Nicole R. Szymczak and Nicole J. Chimera

Clinical Scenario: Lower-extremity injuries in the United States costs millions of dollars each year. Athletes should be screened for neuromuscular deficits and trained to correct them. The tuck jump assessment (TJA) is a plyometric tool that can be used with athletes. Clinical Question: Does the TJA demonstrate both interrater and intrarater reliability in healthy individuals? Summary of Key Findings: Four of the 5 articles included in this critically appraised topic showed good to excellent reliability; however, caution should be taken in interpreting these results. Although composite scores of the TJA were found to be reliable, individual flaws do not demonstrate reliability on their own, with the exception of knee valgus at landing. Aspects of the TJA itself, including rater training, scoring system, playback speed, volume, and number of views allotted, need to be standardized before the reliability of this clinical assessment can be further researched. Clinical Bottom Line: The TJA has shown varying levels of reliability, from poor to excellent, for both interrater and intrarater reliability, given current research. Strength of Recommendation: According to the Centre for Evidence Based Medicine levels of evidence, there is level 2b evidence for research into the reliability of the TJA. This evidence has been demonstrated in elite, adolescent, and college-level athletics in the United Kingdom, Spain, and the United States. The recommendation of level 2b was chosen because these studies utilized cohort design for interrater and intrarater reliability across populations. An overall grade of B was recommended because there were consistent level 2 studies.

Open access

Bryan L. Riemann and George J. Davies

Context: Previous investigations have examined the reliability, normalization, and underlying projection mechanics of the seated single-arm shot-put (SSASP) test. Although the test is believed to reflect test limb strength, there have been no assessments determining whether test performance is directly associated with upper-extremity strength. Objective: To determine the relationship between isokinetic pushing force and SSASP performance and conduct a method comparison analysis of limb symmetry indices between the 2 tests. Design: Controlled laboratory study. Setting: Biomechanics laboratory. Patients (or Other Participants): Twenty-four healthy and physically active men (n = 12) and women (n = 12). Intervention(s): Participants completed the SSASP and isokinetic pushing tests using their dominant and nondominant arms. Main Outcome Measures: SSASP distance and isokinetic peak force. Results: Significant moderate to strong relationships were revealed between the SSASP distances and isokinetic peak forces for both limbs. The Bland–Altman analysis results demonstrated significantly (P < .002) greater limb symmetry indices for the SSASP (both medicine balls) than the isokinetic ratios, with biases ranging from −0.094 to −0.159. The limits of agreement results yielded intervals ranging from ±0.241 to ±0.340 and ±0.202 to ±0.221 from the biases. Conclusions: These results support the notion that the SSASP test reflects upper-extremity strength. The incongruency of the limb symmetry indices between the 2 tests is likely reflective of the differences in the movement patterns and coordination requirements of the 2 tests.

Open access

Eoin Everard, Mark Lyons and Andrew J. Harrison

Context: Dynamic movement-based screens, such as the Landing Error Scoring System (LESS), are becoming more widely used in research and practical settings. Currently, 3 studies have examined the reliability of the LESS. These studies have reported good interrater and intrarater reliability. However, all 3 studies involved raters, who were founders of the LESS. Therefore, it is unclear whether the reliability reported reflects that which would be observed with practitioners without such specialized and intimate knowledge of the screen and only using the standardized set of instructions. Objective: To investigate the interrater and intrarater reliability of the final score and the individual scoring criteria of the LESS. Design: Reliability protocol. Setting: Controlled laboratory. Participants: Two raters scored 30 male participants (age = 21.8 [3.9] y; height = 1.75 [0.46] m; mass = 75.5 [6.6] kg) involved in a variety of college sports. Main Outcome Measure: Two raters using only the standardized scoring sheet assessed the interrater reliability of the total score and individual scoring criteria independently of each other. The principal author scored the videos again 6 weeks later for the intrarater reliability component of the study. Intervention: Participants performed a drop box landing from a 30-cm box was recorded with a video camera from the front and side views. Results: The intraclass coefficients interrater and intrarater reliability for the total scores were excellent (intraclass coefficients range = .95 and .96; SEM = 1.01 and 1.02). The individual scoring criteria of the LESS had between moderate and perfect agreement using kappa statistics (κ = .41–1.0). Conclusion: The final score and individual scoring criteria of the LESS have acceptable reliability with raters using the standardized scoring sheet. Practitioners using only the standardized scoring sheet should feel confident that the LESS is a reliable tool.

Open access

Caitlin Brinkman, Shelby E. Baez, Francesca Genoese and Johanna M. Hoch

Clinical Scenario: Patients after sports-related injury experience deficits in self-efficacy. Goal setting may be an appropriate psychoeducation technique to enhance self-efficacy after sports-related injury. Clinical Question: Does goal setting–enhanced rehabilitation improve self-efficacy compared with traditional rehabilitation alone in individuals with sports-related injury? Summary of Key Findings: Two randomized controlled trials were included. The two studies selected assessed changes in self-efficacy before and after a goal-setting intervention following sports-related injury in an athletic population. Both studies used the Sports Injury Rehabilitation Beliefs Survey to evaluate self-efficacy. Clinical Bottom Line: There is currently consistent, good-quality, patient-oriented evidence that supports the use of goal setting to improve self-efficacy in patients undergoing rehabilitation for sports-related injury compared with the standard of care group. Future research should examine optimal timing for the implementation of goal setting in order to enhance self-efficacy following sports-related injury. Strength of Recommendation: The grade of A is recommended by the Strength of Recommendation Taxonomy for consistent, good-quality, patient-oriented evidence.

Open access

Mhairi K. MacLean and Daniel P. Ferris

The authors tested 4 young healthy subjects walking with a powered knee exoskeleton to determine if it could reduce the metabolic cost of locomotion. Subjects walked with a backpack loaded and unloaded, on a treadmill with inclinations of 0° and 15°, and outdoors with varied natural terrain. Participants walked at a self-selected speed (average 1.0 m/s) for all conditions, except incline treadmill walking (average 0.5 m/s). The authors hypothesized that the knee exoskeleton would reduce the metabolic cost of walking uphill and with a load compared with walking without the exoskeleton. The knee exoskeleton reduced metabolic cost by 4.2% in the 15° incline with the backpack load. All other conditions had an increase in metabolic cost when using the knee exoskeleton compared with not using the exoskeleton. There was more variation in metabolic cost over the outdoor walking course with the knee exoskeleton than without it. Our findings indicate that powered assistance at the knee is more likely to decrease the metabolic cost of walking in uphill conditions and during loaded walking rather than in level conditions without a backpack load. Differences in positive mechanical work demand at the knee for varying conditions may explain the differences in metabolic benefit from the exoskeleton.

Open access

Zachary W. Bell, Scott J. Dankel, Robert W. Spitz, Raksha N. Chatakondi, Takashi Abe and Jeremy P. Loenneke

Context: The perceived tightness scale is suggested to be an effective method for setting subocclusive pressures with practical blood flow restriction. However, the reliability of this scale is unknown and is important as the reliability will ultimately dictate the usefulness of this method. Objective: To determine the reliability of the perceived tightness scale and investigate if the reliability differs by sex. Design: Within-participant, repeated-measures. Setting: University laboratory. Participants: Twenty-four participants (12 men and 12 women) were tested over 3 days. Main Outcome Measures: Arterial occlusion pressure (AOP) and the pressure at which the participants rated a 7 out of 10 on the perceived tightness scale in the upper arm and upper leg. Results: The percentage coefficient of variation for the measurement was approximately 12%, with no effect of sex in the upper (median δ [95% credible interval]: 0.016 [−0.741, 0.752]) or lower body (median δ [95% credible interval]: 0.266 [−0.396, 0.999]). This would produce an overestimation/underestimation of ∼25% from the mean perceived pressure in the upper body and ∼20% in the lower body. Participants rated pressures above their AOP for the upper body and below for the lower body. At the group level, there were differences in participants’ ratings for their relative AOP (7 out of 10) between day 1 and days 2 and 3 for the lower body, but no differences between sexes for the upper or lower body. Conclusions: The use of the perceived tightness scale does not provide reliable estimates of relative pressures over multiple visits. This method resulted in a wide range of relative AOPs within the same individual across days. This may preclude the use of this scale to set the pressure for those implementing practical blood flow restriction in the laboratory, gym, or clinic.