Context: Reaction time is commonly assessed postconcussion through a computerized neurocognitive battery. Although this measure is sensitive to postconcussion deficits, it is not clear if computerized reaction time reflects the dynamic reaction time necessary to compete effectively and safely during sporting activities. Functional reaction time assessments may be useful postconcussion, but reliability must be determined before clinical implementation. Objective: To determine the test–retest reliability of a functional reaction time assessment battery and to determine if reaction time improved between sessions. Design: Cohort. Setting: Laboratory. Participants: Forty-one participants (21 men and 20 women) completed 2 time points. Participants, on average, were 22.5 (2.1) years old, 72.5 (11.9) cm tall, had a mass of 71.0 (13.7) kg, and were mostly right leg and hand dominant (92.7%). Interventions: Participants completed 2 clinical reaction time tests (computerized Stroop and drop stick) and 5 functional reaction time tests (gait, jump landing, single-leg hop, anticipated cut, and unanticipated cut) across 2 sessions. Drop stick and functional reaction time assessments were performed in single (motor task only) and dual task (motor task with cognitive task). Main Outcome Measures: Reaction time (in seconds) was calculated during all assessments. Test–retest reliability was determined using 2-way mixed-effects intraclass correlation coefficients (3, k). Paired samples t tests compared mean reaction time between sessions. Results: Test–retest reliability was moderate to excellent for all reaction time outcomes (intraclass correlation coefficients [3, k] range = .766–.925). Several statistically significant between-session mean differences were observed, but effect sizes were negligible to small (d range = 0.05–0.44). Conclusions: The functional reaction time assessment battery displayed similar reliability to the standard computerized reaction time assessment battery and may provide important postinjury information, but more research is needed to determine clinical utility.
Robert C. Lynall, Rachel S. Johnson, Landon B. Lempke, and Julianne D. Schmidt
Emma F. Zuk, Gyujin Kim, Jacqueline Rodriguez, Brandon Hallaway, Amanda Kuczo, Shayna Deluca, Kirsten Allen, Neal R. Glaviano, and Lindsay J. DiStefano
Clinical Scenario: Patellofemoral pain (PFP) is characterized by general anterior knee pain around the patella and is one of the most prevalent knee conditions. PFP is challenging to treat due to a wide range of contributing factors and often has chronic, reoccurring symptoms. Traditional treatment focuses on quadriceps and gluteal strengthening with minimal emphasis on deep trunk musculature. Recently, there has been a growing body of literature supporting the beneficial effects of core stability exercises as a treatment option for PFP. Clinical Question: Are core stability exercises coupled with traditional rehabilitation more effective than only traditional rehabilitation techniques for decreasing pain in patients with PFP? Summary of Key Findings: Three articles met the inclusion criteria and investigated core strengthening exercises as a treatment for PFP. Two studies investigated a 4-week exercise protocol and demonstrated a greater decrease in pain when compared to the control group. The third study examined the effects of a 6-week program where both the intervention and control groups resulted in similar reduction of pain. All articles included received a minimum of 6 on the PEDro scale. Clinical Bottom Line: There is evidence that supports core stability exercise protocols coupled with traditional rehabilitation as being more effective in reducing pain in patients with PFP when compared to traditional rehabilitation alone. Strength of Recommendation:The grade of A is recommended based on the Strength of Recommendation Taxonomy.
Chris M. Edwards
Clinical Scenerio: Neck pain is a costly symptom in both civilian and military worlds. While traditional treatments include deep neck flexor stabilizing exercises, manual therapy, electrical therapy, and other nonsurgical interventions, scapular orientation and stability training has emerged as a possible tool to reduce neck pain severity. Methods that can be coached at a distance could be of value in virtual appointments or circumstances where access to a qualified manual therapist is limited. Focused Clinical Question: What is the effectiveness of including exercise programs targeting scapular kinematics and stability to decrease neck pain? Summary of Key Findings: Exercise programs targeting scapular kinematics and stability, with coaching and individualized progressions, appear to reduce neck pain severity. Clinical Bottom Line: Evidence supports the inclusion of exercises for scapular kinematics and stability at a prescription of 3 sessions per week, with a duration of 4 or 6 weeks. Exercise programs should include a “learning” or coaching phase to ensure exercises are performed as intended, and exercise progressions should be based on participant ability rather than predetermined timelines. Further research is needed to better understand the benefits of this potential strategy and the statistical impact of scapular-focused exercise interventions on neck pain in specific populations like military and athletes. Strength of Recommendation: There is ‘Fair’ to ‘Good’ evidence from 2 level 1b single-blind randomized control studies and 1 level 2b pre-post test control design study supporting the inclusion of exercise programs targeting scapular kinematics and stability to decrease chronic neck pain severity.
Rodrigo Rodrigues Gomes Costa, Jefferson Rodrigues Dorneles, Guilherme Henrique Lopes, José Irineu Gorla, and Frederico Ribeiro Neto
Context: Monitoring training loads and consequent fatigue responses are usually a result of personal trainers’ experiences and an adaptation of methods used in sports for people without disabilities. Currently, there is little scientific evidence on the relationship between training load and fatigue resulting from training sessions in wheelchair sports. Analogous to the vertical jump, which has been associated with competitive performance and used to assess fatigue in Olympic sports, the medicine ball throw (MBT) is a fast, feasible, and accessible test that might be used to measure performance outcomes in Paralympic athletes. Objective: To test the MBT responsiveness to detect meaningful changes after training sessions in beginner wheelchair basketball players (WBP). Design: Cross-sectional study. Setting: Rehabilitation Hospital Network, Paralympic Program. Participants: Twelve male WBP. Main Outcomes Measures: The participants performed 3 consecutive days of training sessions involving exercises of wheelchair basketball skills, strength, and power. The MBT test was performed pre and post training sessions. Results: The smallest worthwhile change for MBT was 0.10 cm, and the lower and upper limits were 3.54 and 3.75 m, respectively. On the first day, the MBT started below the smallest worthwhile change lower limit and increased above the upper limit (3.53 and 3.78 m, respectively). On the second day, the MBT pretraining and posttraining session results were near the sample mean (3.62 and 3.59 m, respectively). On the third day, the WBP started the MBT test training higher than the upper limit (3.78 m) and decreased to near the mean (3.58 m). Conclusions: During 3 consecutive days of training sessions, the magnitude-based inference model presented meaningful changes in MBT test performance. The accurate association of the magnitude-based inference model with the MBT allows coaches and sports team staff to interpret the correct magnitude of change in WBP performance.
Sergio Jiménez-Rubio, José Luis Estévez Rodríguez, and Archit Navandar
Context: The high rates of adductor injuries and reinjuries in soccer have suggested that the current rehabilitation programs may be insufficient; therefore, there is a need to create prevention and reconditioning programs to prepare athletes for the specific demands of the sport. Objective: The aim of this study is to validate a rehab and reconditioning program (RRP) for adductor injuries through a panel of experts and determine the effectiveness of this program through its application in professional soccer. Design: A 20-item RRP was developed, which was validated by a panel of experts anonymously and then applied to 12 injured male professional soccer players. Setting: Soccer pitch and indoor gym. Participants: Eight rehabilitation fitness coaches (age = 33.25 [2.49] y) and 8 academic researchers (age = 38.50 [3.74] y) with PhDs in sports science and/or physiotherapy. The RRP was applied to 12 male professional players (age = 23.75 [4.97] y; height = 180.56 [8.41] cm; mass = 76.89 [3.43] kg) of the Spanish First and Second Division (La Liga). Interventions: The experts validated an indoor and on-field reconditioning program, which was based on strengthening the injured muscle and retraining conditional capacities with the aim of reducing the risk of reinjury. Main Outcome Measures: Aiken V for each item of the program and number of days taken by the players to return to full team training. Results: The experts evaluated all items of the program very highly as seen from Aiken V values between 0.77 and 0.94 (range: 0.61–0.98) for all drills, and the return to training was in 13.08 (±1.42) days. Conclusion: This RRP following an injury to the adductor longus was validated by injury experts, and initial results suggested that it could permit a faster return to team training.
Clinical Scenario: Traditional loading (TL) is a common technique to employ when engaging in countermovement jumps (CMJ). Accentuated eccentric loading (AEL) is a newer modality that is being explored for acute CMJ performance. Focused Clinical Question: In adult, resistance-trained males, will AEL have a superior impact on acute CMJ performance compared to TL? Summary of Key Findings: The literature was searched for studies that examined the influence of AEL on acute CMJ performance compared to a TL protocol. TL was defined as any loading condition that utilized an equivalent resistance during both the eccentric and concentric contractions. Three studies met the inclusion and exclusion criteria, and were identified and included in the critically appraised topic. Each of the 3 studies found that various AEL conditions were either equal to or better than TL when examining subsequent CMJ performance. In no specific CMJ outcome measure was TL deemed to have a greater impact than AEL. Clinical Bottom Line: AEL provides more favorable acute CMJ performance than TL in adult, resistance-trained males. Strength of Recommendation: Consistent findings from 2 randomized crossover studies and one repeated-measured design investigation suggest level 2b evidence to support AEL as an ideal protocol for acute CMJ performance.
Sakiko Oyama, Edgar Garza, and Kylie Dugan
Context: The trunk/pelvis is an important link between the upper- and lower-extremities. Therefore, assessing strength of the trunk and hip muscles that control the segments is clinically meaningful. While an isokinetic dynamometer can be used to measure trunk strength, the equipment is expensive and not portable. Objective: To test the reliability of simple trunk and hip strength measures that utilize a bar, straps, and a portable tension dynamometer. Design: Test–retest reliability study. Setting: Biomechanics research laboratory. Patients (or Other Participants): Twenty college-age individuals (10 males/10 females, age = 20.9 [3.7] y) participated. Intervention(s): The participants attended 2 testing sessions, 1 week apart. The participants’ trunk-flexion, rotation, and hip abduction strength were measured at each session. Main Outcome Measures: Peak trunk flexion, rotation, and hip abduction forces were normalized to the participant’s body weight (BW). In addition, hip-abduction torque was calculated by multiplying the force times the leg length and normalized to BW. The trial data from both sessions were used to calculate the intrasession reliability, and the averages from the 2 sessions were used to calculate the intersession reliability. Intraclass correlation coefficients, SEM, and minimal detectable change were calculated to evaluate reliability of measures. Results: The intrasession intraclass correlation coefficients (SEM) for trunk flexion, rotation, hip abduction, and hip abduction torque were .837 (5.2% BW), .978 (1.3% BW), .955 (1.0% BW), and .969 (5.8 N·m/BW), respectively. The intersession reliability for trunk flexion, rotation, hip abduction, and hip abduction torque were .871 (4.3% BW), .801 (3.8% BW), .894 (1.5% BW), and .968 (5.9 N·m/BW), respectively. Conclusions: The measures of trunk and hip abduction strength are highly repeatable within a session. The reliability of the measures between sessions was also good/excellent with relatively small SEM and minimal detectable change. The tests described in this study can be used to assess changes in trunk/hip strength over time.
Craig R. Denegar and Justina Gray
Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) stretching of the hamstrings improves flexibility but requires assistance from a clinician or partner. The original intent of our work was to assess the efficacy of self-assisted PNF hamstring stretching using a commercially available device. The authors observed improved flexibility in the stretched leg and, to a lesser extent, in the contralateral leg. While this was at first simply interesting, the finding became clinically relevant in the subsequent application in the care of a patient with low-back pain with radiating pain. This report provides study data and describes the translation of study findings into the care of a patient in a clinical setting.
Tomonari Takeshita, Hiroaki Noro, Keiichiro Hata, Taira Yoshida, Tetsuo Fukunaga, and Toshio Yanagiya
The present study aimed to clarify the effect of the foot strike pattern on muscle–tendon behavior and kinetics of the gastrocnemius medialis during treadmill running. Seven male participants ran with 2 different foot strike patterns (forefoot strike [FFS] and rearfoot strike [RFS]), with a step frequency of 2.50 Hz and at a speed of 2.38 m/s for 45 seconds on a treadmill with an instrumented force platform. The fascicle behavior of gastrocnemius medialis was captured using a B-mode ultrasound system with a sampling rate of 75 Hz, and the mechanical work done and power exerted by the fascicle and tendon were calculated. At the initial contact, the fascicle length was significantly shorter in the FFS than in the RFS (P = .001). However, the fascicular velocity did not differ between strike patterns. Higher tendon stretch and recoil were observed in the FFS (P < .001 and P = .017, respectively) compared with the RFS. The fascicle in the positive phase performed the same mechanical work in both the FFS and RFS; however, the fascicle in the negative phase performed significantly greater work in the FFS than in the RFS (P = .001). RFS may be advantageous for requiring less muscular work and elastic energy in the series elastic element compared with the FFS.