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Brendan L. Pinto, Daniel Viggiani, and Jack P. Callaghan

The lumbar extensor spinae (LES) has an oblique orientation with respect to the compressive axis of the lumbar spine, allowing it to counteract anterior shear forces. This mechanical advantage is lost as spine flexion angle increases. The LES orientation can also alter over time as obliquity decreases with age and is associated with decreased strength and low back pain. However, it is unknown if LES orientation is impacted by recent exposures causing adaptations over shorter timescales. Hence, the effects of a 10-minute sustained spine flexion exposure on LES orientation, thickness, and activity were investigated. Three different submaximally flexed spine postures were observed before and after the exposure. At baseline, orientation (P < .001) and thickness (P = .004) decreased with increasingly flexed postures. After the exposure, obliquity further decreased at low (pairwise comparison P < .001) and moderately (pairwise comparison P = .008) flexed postures. Low back creep occurred, but LES thickness did not change, indicating that decreases in orientation were not solely due to changes in muscle length at a given posture. Activation did not change to counteract decreases in obliquity. These changes encompass a reduced ability to offset anterior shear forces, thus increasing the potential risk of anterior shear-related injury or pain after low back creep-generating exposures.

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Jack P. Callaghan

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Samuel C. Fischer, Darren Q. Calley, and John H. Hollman

Clinical Scenario : Low back pain is a common condition for the general population with 29% of adults having low back pain within the last 3 months. A deadlift is described as a free weight exercise in which a barbell is lifted from the floor in a continuous motion by extending the knees and hips. For those without low back pain, the deadlift was found to have the highest muscle activation of paraspinal musculature compared with other exercises. There are a limited number of studies that investigate the usefulness of incorporating deadlifts as part of a rehabilitation program for low back pain. Clinical Question: For those who live with low back pain, is an exercise routine that includes a deadlift a viable treatment option to improve pain and/or function? Summary of Key Findings: The literature search yielded 3 total studies meeting the inclusion and exclusion criteria: 1 randomized control trial, 1 secondary analysis of a randomized control trial, and 1 cohort study. Exercise programs that include deadlifts can yield improvements in both pain and function for those living with low back pain but were not found to be more beneficial than low load motor control exercises. Those with lower pain levels and higher baseline lumbar extension strength may be most appropriate to participate in an exercise program that includes deadlifts. Further research is needed to compare exercise programs that include deadlifts to other interventions for those living with low back pain. Clinical Bottom Line: There is minimal evidence that exercise programs that included deadlifts are a clinically effective option for the treatment of low back pain for both pain scores and functional outcome measures. Strength of Recommendation: Level B evidence exists that exercise programs that include deadlifts are a clinically effective option for the treatment of low back pain for both pain scores and functional outcome measures.

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Scott Benson Street, Matthew Rawlins, and Jason Miller

Clinical Scenario: Ankle fractures are a frequent occurrence, and they carry the potential for syndesmosis injury. The syndesmosis is important to the structural integrity of the ankle joint by maintaining the proximity of the tibia, fibula, and talus. Presently, the gold standard for treating an ankle syndesmosis injury is to insert a metallic screw through the fibula and into the tibia. This technique requires a second intervention to remove the hardware, but also carries an inherent risk of breaking the screw during rehabilitation. Another fixation technique, the Tightrope, has gained popularity in treating ankle syndesmosis injuries. The TightRope involves inserting Fiberwire® through the tibia and fibula, which allows for stabilization of the ankle mortise and normal range of motion. Clinical Question: In patients suffering from ankle syndesmosis injuries, is the Tightrope ankle syndesmosis fixation system more effective than conventional screw fixation at improving return to work, pain, and patient-reported outcome measures? Summary of Key Findings: Five studies were selected to be critically appraised. The PEDro checklist was used to score 2 randomized control trials, and the Downs & Black checklist was used to score the cohort study on methodology and consistency. Two systematic reviews were also appraised. All 5 articles demonstrated support for using the TightRope fixation. Clinical Bottom Line: There is moderate evidence to support the use of the TightRope syndesmosis fixation system, as it provides both clinician- and patient-reported outcomes that are similar to those using the conventional metallic screw, with a shortened time to recover and return to activity. Strength of Recommendation: Grade A evidence exists in support of using the TightRope fixation system in place of the metallic screw following ankle syndesmosis injury.

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Karin Weman Josefsson

Sweden has adopted a somewhat different approach to handle the corona pandemic, which has been widely debated both on national and international levels. The Swedish model involves more individual responsibility and reliance on voluntary civic liability than law enforcement, while common measures in other countries are based on more controlling strategies, such as restrictive lockdowns, quarantines, closed borders, and mandatory behavior constraints. This commentary aims to give a brief overview of the foundations of the Swedish model as well as a discussion on how and why it has been adopted in the Swedish society based on Swedish legislations, culture, and traditions. Finally, perspectives on how the Swedish model could be connected to the tenets of self-determination theory will be discussed.

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Katherine A.J. Daniels, Eleanor Drake, Enda King, and Siobhán Strike

Cutting maneuvers can be executed at a range of angles and speeds, and these whole-body task descriptors are closely associated with lower-limb mechanical loading. Asymmetries in angle and speed when changing direction off the operated and nonoperated limbs after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction may therefore influence the interpretation of interlimb differences in joint-level biomechanical parameters. The authors hypothesized that athletes would reduce center-of-mass heading angle deflection and body rotation during the change-of-direction stance phase when cutting from the operated limb, and would compensate for this by orienting their center-of-mass trajectory more toward the new intended direction of travel prior to touchdown. A total of 144 male athletes 8 to 10 months after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction performed a maximum-effort sidestep cutting maneuver while kinematic, kinetic, and ground reaction force data were recorded. Peak ground reaction force and knee joint moments were lower when cutting from the operated limb. Center-of-mass heading angle deflection during stance phase was reduced for cuts performed from the operated limb and was negatively correlated with heading angle at touchdown. Between-limb differences in body orientation and horizontal velocity at touchdown were also observed. These systematic asymmetries in cut execution may require consideration when interpreting joint-level interlimb asymmetries after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction and are suggestive of the use of anticipatory control to co-optimize task achievement and mechanical loading.

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Bin Chen, Lifen Liu, Lincoln Bin Chen, Xianxin Cao, Peng Han, Chenhao Wang, and Qi Qi

Context: Measuring isometric shoulder rotational strength is clinically important for evaluating motor disability in athletes with shoulder injuries. Recent evidence suggests that handheld dynamometry may provide a low-cost and portable method for the clinical assessment of isometric shoulder strength. Objective: To investigate the concurrent validity and the intrarater and interrater reliability of handheld dynamometry for measuring isometric shoulder rotational strength. Design: Cross-sectional study. Setting: Biomechanics laboratory. Participants: Thirty-nine young, healthy participants. Main Outcome Measures: The peak isometric strength of the internal rotators and external rotators, measured by handheld dynamometry (in newton) and isokinetic dynamometry (in newton meter). Interventions: Maximal isometric shoulder rotational strength was measured as participants lay supine with 90° shoulder abduction, neutral rotation, 90° elbow flexion, and forearm pronation. Measurements were performed independently by 2 different physiotherapists and in 3 different sessions to evaluate interrater and intrarater reliability. The data obtained by handheld dynamometry were compared with those obtained by isokinetic testing to evaluate concurrent validity. Results: The intraclass correlation coefficients for interrater reliability in measuring maximum isometric shoulder external and internal rotation strength were .914 (95% confidence interval [CI], .842–.954) and .842 (95% CI, .720–.914), respectively. The intrarater reliability values of the method for measuring maximal shoulder external and internal rotation strength were 0.865 (95% CI, 0.757–0.927) and 0.901 (95% CI, 0.820–0.947), respectively. The Pearson correlation coefficients between the handheld and isokinetic dynamometer measurements were .792 (95% CI, .575–.905) for external rotation strength and .664 (95% CI, .419–.839) for internal rotation strength. Conclusions: The handheld dynamometer showed good to excellent reliability and moderate to good validity in measuring maximum isometric shoulder rotational strength. Therefore, handheld dynamometry could be acceptable for health and sports professionals in field situations to evaluate maximum isometric shoulder rotational strength.

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Richard Tahtinen, Hafrun Kristjansdottir, Daniel T. Olason, and Robert Morris

The aim of the study was to explore the prevalence of specific symptoms of depression in athletes and to test differences in the likelihood of athletes exhibiting these symptoms across age, sex, type of team sport, and level of competition. A sample of Icelandic male and female team sport athletes (N = 894, 18–42 years) was included in the study. Of the athletes exhibiting clinically significant depressive symptoms on the Patient Health Questionnaire-9, 37.5% did not exhibit core symptoms of depression. Compared with males, females were significantly more likely to exhibit depressed mood, feelings of worthlessness/guilt, and problems with sleep, fatigue, appetite, and concentration. Within males, differences were mostly related to neurovegetative aspects of depression (sleep and appetite), whereas in females, differences were related to cognitive/emotional aspects (e.g., depressed mood, guilt/worthlessness). The findings underline the importance of exploring specific symptoms of depression to provide a richer understanding of depressive symptomology in athletes.

Open access

Hannah L. Stedge and Kirk Armstrong

Clinical Scenario: Endurance sports require a great deal of physical training to perform well. Endurance training and racing stress the skeletal muscle, resulting in exercise-induced muscle damage (EIMD). Athletes attempt to aid their recovery in various ways, one of which is through compression. Dynamic compression consists of intermittent pneumatic compression (IPC) devices, such as the NormaTec Recovery System and Recovery Pump. Clinical Question: What are the effects of IPC on the reduction of EIMD in endurance athletes following prolonged exercise? Summary of Key Findings: The current literature was searched to identify the effects of IPC, and 3 studies were selected: 2 randomized controlled trials and 1 randomized cross-over study. Two studies investigated the effect of IPC on delayed onset muscle soreness and plasma creatine kinase in ultramarathoners. The other looked at the impact of IPC on delayed onset muscle soreness in marathoners, ultramarathoners, triathletes, and cyclists. All studies concluded IPC was not an effective means of improving the reduction of EIMD in endurance-trained athletes. Clinical Bottom Line: While IPC may provide short-term relief of delayed onset muscle soreness, this device does not provide continued relief from EIMD. Strength of Recommendation: In accordance with the Strength of Recommendation Taxonomy, the grade of B is recommended based on consistent evidence from 2 high-quality randomized controlled trials and 1 randomized cross-over study.