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Daichi Tomita, Tadashi Suga, Hiromasa Ueno, Yuto Miyake, Takahiro Tanaka, Masafumi Terada, Mitsuo Otsuka, Akinori Nagano, and Tadao Isaka

This study examined the relationship between Achilles tendon (AT) length and 100-m sprint time in sprinters. The AT lengths at 3 different portions of the triceps surae muscle in 48 well-trained sprinters were measured using magnetic resonance imaging. The 3 AT lengths were calculated as the distance from the calcaneal tuberosity to the muscle–tendon junction of the soleus, gastrocnemius medialis, and gastrocnemius lateralis, respectively. The absolute 3 AT lengths did not correlate significantly with personal best 100-m sprint time (r = −.023 to .064, all Ps > .05). Furthermore, to minimize the differences in the leg length among participants, the 3 AT lengths were normalized to the shank length, and the relative 3 AT lengths did not correlate significantly with personal best 100-m sprint time (r = .023 to .102, all Ps > .05). Additionally, no significant correlations were observed between the absolute and relative (normalized to body mass) cross-sectional areas of the AT and personal best 100-m sprint time (r = .012 and .084, respectively, both Ps > .05). These findings suggest that the AT morphological variables, including the length, may not be related to superior 100-m sprint time in sprinters.

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Corey A. Pew, Sarah A. Roelker, Glenn K. Klute, and Richard R. Neptune

The coupling between the residual limb and the lower-limb prosthesis is not rigid. As a result, external loading produces movement between the prosthesis and residual limb that can lead to undesirable soft-tissue shear stresses. As these stresses are difficult to measure, limb loading is commonly used as a surrogate. However, the relationship between limb loading and the displacements responsible for those stresses remains unknown. To better understand the limb motion within the socket, an inverse kinematic analysis was performed to estimate the motion between the socket and tibia for 10 individuals with a transtibial amputation performing walking and turning activities at 3 different speeds. The authors estimated the rotational stiffness of the limb-socket body to quantify the limb properties when coupled with the socket and highlight how this approach could help inform prosthetic prescriptions. Results showed that peak transverse displacement had a significant, linear relationship with peak transverse loading. Stiffness of the limb-socket body varied significantly between individuals, activities (walking and turning), and speeds. These results suggest that transverse limb loading can serve as a surrogate for residual-limb shear stress and that the setup of a prosthesis could be individually tailored using standard motion capture and inverse kinematic analyses.

Open access

Svend Erik Mathiassen

Open access

Devin S. Kielur and Cameron J. Powden

Context: Impaired dorsiflexion range of motion (DFROM) has been established as a predictor of lower-extremity injury. Compression tissue flossing (CTF) may address tissue restrictions associated with impaired DFROM; however, a consensus is yet to support these effects. Objectives: To summarize the available literature regarding CTF on DFROM in physically active individuals. Evidence Acquisition: PubMed and EBSCOhost (CINAHL, MEDLINE, and SPORTDiscus) were searched from 1965 to July 2019 for related articles using combination terms related to CTF and DRFOM. Articles were included if they measured the immediate effects of CTF on DFROM. Methodological quality was assessed using the Physiotherapy Evidence Database scale. The level of evidence was assessed using the Strength of Recommendation Taxonomy. The magnitude of CTF effects from pre-CTF to post-CTF and compared with a control of range of motion activities only were examined using Hedges g effect sizes and 95% confidence intervals. Randomeffects meta-analysis was performed to synthesize DFROM changes. Evidence Synthesis: A total of 6 studies were included in the analysis. The average Physiotherapy Evidence Database score was 60% (range = 30%–80%) with 4 out of 6 studies considered high quality and 2 as low quality. Meta-analysis indicated no DFROM improvements for CTF compared with range of motion activities only (effect size = 0.124; 95% confidence interval, −0.137 to 0.384; P = .352) and moderate improvements from pre-CTF to post-CTF (effect size = 0.455; 95% confidence interval, 0.022 to 0.889; P = .040). Conclusions: There is grade B evidence to suggest CTF may have no effect on DFROM when compared with a control of range of motion activities only and results in moderate improvements from pre-CTF to post-CTF. This suggests that DFROM improvements were most likely due to exercises completed rather than the band application.

Open access

Robert J. Reyburn and Cameron J. Powden

Context: Ankle braces have been theorized to augment dynamic balance. Objectives: To complete a systematic review with meta-analysis of the available literature assessing the effect of ankle braces on dynamic balance in individuals with and without chronic ankle instability (CAI). Evidence Acquisition: Electronic databases (PubMed, MEDLINE, CINAHL, and SPORTDiscus) were searched from inception to October 2019 using combinations of keywords related to dynamic balance, ankle braces, Star Excursion Balance Test (SEBT), Y-Balance Test (YBT), and Time to Stabilization. Inclusion criteria required that studies examined the effects of ankle braces on dynamic balance. Studies were excluded if they evaluated other conditions besides CAI, did not access dynamic balance, or did not use an ankle brace. Methodological quality was assessed using the Physiotherapy Evidence Database scale. The level of evidence was assessed using the Strength of Recommendation Taxonomy. The magnitude of brace effects on dynamic balance was examined using Hedges g effect sizes (ESs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Random-effects meta-analysis was performed to synthesize SEBT/YBT and Time to Stabilization data separately. Data Synthesis: Seven studies were included with a median Physiotherapy Evidence Database score of 60% (range 50%–60%), and 4 were classified as high quality. Overall meta-analysis indicated a weak to no effect of braces on SEBT/YBT (ES = 0.117; 95% CI, −0.080 to 0.433; P = .177) and Time to Stabilization (ES = −0.064; 95% CI, −0.211 to 0.083, P = .083). Subanalysis of SEBT/YBT measures indicated a weak negative effect in healthy participants (ES = −0.116; 95% CI, −0.209 to −0.022, P = .015) and a strong positive effect in individuals with CAI (ES = 0.777; 95% CI, 0.418 to 1.136; P < .001). Conclusion: The current literature supports a strong effect of ankle braces on the SEBT/YBT in those with CAI. However, little to no dynamic balance changes were noted in healthy participants. Future research should include consistent ankle brace types, pathologic populations, and the examination of dynamic balance changes contribution to injury risk reduction.

Open access

Diulian Muniz Medeiros, César Marchiori, and Bruno Manfredini Baroni

Context: Nordic hamstring exercise (NHE) has been widely employed to prevent hamstring strain injuries. However, it is still not clear which adaptations are responsible for the NHE preventive effects. Objectives: The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of NHE on knee flexors eccentric strength and fascicle length. Evidence Acquisition: The search strategy included MEDLINE, PEDro, and Cochrane CENTRAL from inception to April 2020. Randomized clinical trials that have analyzed the effects of NHE training on hamstring eccentric strength and/or fascicle length were included. Evidence Synthesis: From the 1932 studies identified, 12 were included in the systematic review, and 9 studies presented suitable data for the meta-analysis. All studies demonstrated strength increments in response to NHE training (10%–15% and 16%–26% in tests performed on the isokinetic dynamometer and on the NHE device, respectively), as well as significant enhancement of biceps femoris long head fascicle length (12%–22%). Meta-analysis showed NHE training was effective to increase knee flexors eccentric strength assessed with both isokinetic tests (0.68; 95% confidence interval, 0.29 to 1.06) and NHE tests (1.11; 95% confidence interval, 0.62 to 1.61). NHE training was also effective to increase fascicle length (0.97; 95% confidence interval, 0.46 to 1.48). Conclusions: NHE training has the potential of increasing both knee flexors eccentric strength and biceps femoris long head fascicle length.

Open access

Chee Vang and Alexander Niznik

Clinical Scenario: Patellar tendinopathy is a common musculoskeletal disorder affecting the lower-extremities and a difficult condition to manage for athletes that are in season. To facilitate improvement in function and to decrease pain, initial treatment for patellar tendinopathy is typically conservative. Traditional interventions may include eccentric training, cryotherapy, patellar counterforce straps, oral anti-inflammatories, injectable agents, phonophoresis, iontophoresis, orthotics, therapeutic ultrasound, and extracorporeal shockwave. In addition, recent literature suggests that implementing isometric and isotonic contractions may be effective in reducing patellar tendon pain. Focused Clinical Question: How effective are isometric contractions compared with isotonic contractions in reducing pain for in-season athletes with patellar tendinopathy? Summary of Key Findings: Implementation of isometric and isotonic exercises statistically reduced pain levels in the short term of 4 weeks for in-season athletes; however, isometric contractions provided statistically greater pain relief immediately for up to 45 minutes postintervention compared with isotonic contractions. Clinical Bottom Line: Current evidence supports the use of isometric and isotonic contractions to reduce pain for in-season athletes with patellar tendinopathy. Based on the reviewed literature, clinicians should consider utilizing heavy loaded isometrics or progressive heavy loaded isotonic exercises, which showed reduction in pain levels immediately after intervention and at 4-week follow-up for both intervention groups. Isometric contractions appear to provide greater pain relief immediately after intervention. Strength of Recommendation: There is Grade B evidence from 2 level 2 randomized controlled trials and 1 level 3 randomized crossover study supporting the use of isometric and isotonic contractions to reduce patellar tendon pain for in-season athletes.

Open access

Katherine L. Helly, Katherine A. Bain, Phillip A. Gribble, and Matthew C. Hoch

Clinical Scenario: Patients with chronic ankle instability (CAI) demonstrate deficits in both sensory and motor function, which can be objectively evaluated through static postural control testing. One intervention that has been suggested to improve somatosensation and, in turn, static postural control is plantar massage. Clinical Question: Does plantar massage improve static postural control during single-limb stance in patients with CAI relative to baseline? Summary of Key Findings: A search was performed for articles exploring the effect of plantar massage on static postural control in individuals with CAI. Three articles were included in this critically appraised topic including 1 randomized controlled trial and 2 crossover studies. All studies supported the use of plantar massage to improve static postural control in patients with CAI. Clinical Bottom Line: There is currently good-quality and consistent evidence that supports the use of plantar massage as an intervention that targets the somatosensory system to improve static postural control in patients with CAI. Future research should focus on incorporating plantar massage as a treatment intervention during long-term rehabilitation protocols for individuals with CAI. Strength of Recommendation: In agreement with the Center of Evidence-Based Medicine, the consistent results from 2 crossover studies and 1 randomized controlled trial designate that there is level B evidence due to consistent, moderate- to high-quality evidence.