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Open access

Nickolai Martonick, Kimber Kober, Abigail Watkins, Amanda DiEnno, Carmen Perez, Ashlie Renfro, Songah Chae and Russell Baker

Clinical Scenario: Joint instability is a common condition that often stems from inadequate muscle activation and results in precarious movement patterns. When clinicians attempt to mechanically treat the unstable joint rather than attending to the underlying cause of the instability, patient outcomes may suffer. The use of kinesiology tape (KT) on an unstable joint has been proposed to aid in improving lower-extremity neuromuscular control. Clinical Question: Does KT improve factors of neuromuscular control in an athletic population when compared with no-tape or nonelastic taping techniques? Summary of Key Findings: The current literature was searched, and 5 randomized controlled studies were selected comparing the effects of KT with no-tape or nonelastic taping techniques on lower-extremity neuromuscular control in an athletic population. Primary findings suggest KT is not more effective than no-tape or nonelastic tape conditions at improving lower-extremity neuromuscular control in a healthy population. Clinical Bottom Line: The current evidence suggests that KT is ineffective for improving neuromuscular control at the ankle compared with nonelastic tape or no-tape conditions. KT was also found to be ineffective at improving hip and knee kinematics in healthy runners and cyclists. However, preliminary research has demonstrated improved neuromuscular control in a population displaying excessive knee valgus during a drop jump landing, after the application of KT. Clinicians should be cautious of these conflicting results and apply the best available evidence to their evaluation of the patient’s status. Strength of Recommendation: There is grade B evidence that the use of KT on an athletic population does not improve biomechanical measures of ankle stability. There is inconclusive, grade B evidence that KT improves neuromuscular control at the knee in symptomatic populations.

Open access

Justin L. Rush, Lindsey K. Lepley, Steven Davi and Adam S. Lepley

Context: Altered quadriceps activation is common following anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR), and can persist for years after surgery. These neural deficits are due, in part, to chronic central nervous system alterations. Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a noninvasive modality, that is, believed to immediately increase motor neuron activity by stimulating the primary motor cortex, making it a promising modality to use improve outcomes in the ACLR population. Objective: To determine if a single treatment of tDCS would result in increased quadriceps activity and decreased levels of self-reported pain and dysfunction during exercise. Design: Randomized crossover design. Setting: Controlled laboratory. Patients: Ten participants with a history of ACLR (5 males/5 females, 22.9 [4.23] y, 176.57 [12.01] cm, 80.87 [16.86] kg, 68.1 [39.37] mo since ACLR). Interventions: Active tDCS and Sham tDCS. Main Outcome Measures: Percentage of maximum electromyographic data of vastus medialis and lateralis, voluntary isometric strength, percentage of voluntary activation, and self-reported pain and symptom scores were measured. The 2 × 2 repeated-measures analysis of variance by limb were performed to explain the differences between time points (pre and post) and condition (tDCS and sham). Results: There was a significant time main effect for quadriceps percentage of maximum electromyographic of vastus medialis (F 9,1 = 11.931, P = .01) and vastus lateralis (F 9,1 = 9.132, P = .01), isometric strength (F 9,1 = 5.343, P = .046), and subjective scores for pain (F 9,1 = 15.499, P = .04) and symptoms (F 9,1 = 15.499, P = .04). Quadriceps percentage of maximum electromyographic, isometric strength, and voluntary activation showed an immediate decline from pre to post regardless of tDCS condition. Subjective scores improved slightly after each condition. Conclusions: One session of active tDCS did not have an immediate effect on quadriceps activity and subjective scores of pain and symptoms. To determine if tDCS is a valid modality for this patient population, a larger scale investigation with multiple treatments of active tDCS is warranted.

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Rachel McCormick, Brian Dawson, Marc Sim, Leanne Lester, Carmel Goodman and Peter Peeling

The authors compared the effectiveness of two modes of daily iron supplementation in athletes with suboptimal iron stores: oral iron (PILL) versus transdermal iron (PATCH). Endurance-trained runners (nine males and 20 females), with serum ferritin concentrations <50 μg/L, supplemented with oral iron or iron patches for 8 weeks, in a parallel group study design. Serum ferritin was measured at baseline and fortnightly intervals. Hemoglobin mass and maximal oxygen consumption (V˙O2max) were measured preintervention and postintervention in PATCH. A linear mixed effects model was used to assess the effectiveness of each mode of supplementation on sFer. A repeated-measures analysis of variance was used to assess hemoglobin mass and V˙O2max outcomes in PATCH. There was a significant time effect (p < .001), sex effect (p = .013), and Time × Group interaction (p = .009) for sFer. At Week 6, PILL had significantly greater sFer compared with PATCH (15.27 μg/L greater in PILL; p = .019). Serum ferritin was 15.53 μg/L greater overall in males compared with females (p = .013). There were no significant differences in hemoglobin mass (p = .727) or V˙O2max (p = .929) preintervention to postintervention in PATCH. Finally, there were six complaints of severe gastrointestinal side effects in PILL and none in PATCH. Therefore, this study concluded that PILL effectively increased sFer in athletes with suboptimal iron stores, whereas PATCH showed no beneficial effects.

Open access

Walter Herzog

Open access

Nicola Brown, Jacky Forsyth, Rachael Bullingham and Claire-Marie Roberts