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Guillermo Mendez-Rebolledo, Romina Figueroa-Ureta, Fernanda Moya-Mura, Eduardo Guzmán-Muñoz, Rodrigo Ramirez-Campillo, and Rhodri S. Lloyd

Context: Few reports have analyzed the effects of neuromuscular (NM) training programs on the injury incidence among youth female track-and-field athletes. Objective: To determine the effects of NM training on reducing lower limb injury incidence and to establish its effects on countermovement jump performance, balance, 30-m sprint, and joint position sense in youth female track-and-field athletes. Design: Single-blind, randomized controlled clinical trial. Setting:Sports research laboratory. Participants: Twenty-two female athletes were allocated into 2 groups: Conventional (CONV) training (n = 11; age = 15.3 [2.1] y) and NM training (n = 11; age = 15.0 [2.7] y). Interventions: Interventions were performed during the preseason of 6 weeks. The CONV training included anaerobic, strength, and aerobic training. The NM training consisted of a multicomponent program that integrated jumps, landings, and running with strength, endurance, agility, balance, and CORE training. Main Outcome Measures: A follow-up of the cohorts was carried out through the evaluation of lower limb injuries (main outcome) during a regular season (weeks 7–18). Secondary outcomes were measured before and after the intervention: Y-balance test, active joint repositioning, ground reaction force, and countermovement jump height. Results: The injury incidence rate was 17.89 injuries per 1000 hours athlete-exposure in CONV training, and 6.58 in NM training (relative risk = 0.38; 95% confidence interval,  0.18 to 0.82; P = .044). Particularly, the medial tibial stress syndrome incidence rate was 5.96 injuries per 1000 hours athlete-exposure in CONV training and 0.82 in NM training (relative risk = 0.17; 95% confidence interval, 0.02 to 1.12; P = .012). In addition, a significant training × time interaction was noted, favoring improvements in 30-m sprint and countermovement jump height after NM. Conclusion: The NM training may improve youth female athlete’s physical fitness and reduce their injury relative risk of medial tibial stress syndrome injury.

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John J. Fraser, Rachel Koldenhoven, and Jay Hertel

Context: Tibial nerve impairment and reduced plantarflexion, hallux flexion, and lesser toe flexion strength have been observed in individuals with recent lateral ankle sprain (LAS) and chronic ankle instability (CAI). Diminished plantar intrinsic foot muscles (IFMs) size and contraction are a likely consequence. Objectives: To assess the effects of ankle injury on IFM size at rest and during contraction in young adults with and without LAS and CAI. Setting: Laboratory. Design: Cross-sectional. Patients: A total of 22 healthy (13 females; age = 19.6 [0.9], body mass index [BMI] = 22.5 [3.2]), 17 LAS (9 females; age = 21.8 [4.1], BMI = 24.1 [3.7]), 21 Copers (13 females; age = 20.8 [2.9], BMI = 23.7 [2.9]), and 20 CAI (15 females; age = 20.9 [4.7], BMI = 25.1 [4.5]). Main Outcome Measures: Foot Posture Index (FPI), Foot Mobility Magnitude (FMM), and ultrasonographic cross-sectional area of the abductor hallucis, flexor digitorum brevis, quadratus plantae, and flexor hallucis brevis were assessed at rest, and during nonresisted and resisted contraction. Results: Multiple linear regression analyses assessing group, sex, BMI, FPI, and FMM on resting and contracted IFM size found sex (B = 0.45; P < .001), BMI (B = 0.05; P = .01), FPI (B = 0.07; P = .05), and FMM × FPI interaction (B = −0.04; P = .008) accounted for 19% of the variance (P = .002) in resting abductor hallucis measures. Sex (B = 0.42, P < .001) and BMI (B = 0.03, P = .02) explained 24% of resting flexor digitorum brevis measures (P < .001). Having a recent LAS (B = 0.06, P = .03) and FMM (B = 0.04, P = .02) predicted 11% of nonresisted quadratus plantae contraction measures (P = .04), with sex (P < .001) explaining 13% of resting quadratus plantae measures (B = 0.24, P = .02). Both sex (B = 0.35, P = .01) and FMM (B = 0.15, P = .03) predicted 16% of resting flexor hallucis brevis measures (P = .01). There were no other statistically significant findings. Conclusions: IFM resting ultrasound measures were primarily determined by sex, BMI, and foot phenotype and not injury status. Routine ultrasound imaging of the IFM following LAS and CAI cannot be recommended at this time but may be considered if neuromotor impairment is suspected.

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Jared Patus

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.

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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.

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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.

Open access

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.

Open access

John H. Challis

Open access

Patricia R. Roby, Robert C. Lynall, Michael J. Cools, Stephen W. Marshall, Janna C. Fonseca, James R. Stevens, and Jason P. Mihalik

We report on hyperbaric oxygen (HBO2) therapy used to improve postinjury outcomes in eight acutely concussed high school student-athletes (5 males, 3 females, mean age = 16.0 ± 1.2 years). Patients were randomly assigned into one of three intervention groups: (a) HBO2 therapy; (b) hyperbaric therapy with compressed medical-grade air (HBA); or (c) normobaric 100% O2 therapy. All patients completed five 1-hr treatments within the first 10 days following his or her concussion. Main outcome measures included mental status examination, symptom burden, and the number of days from injury until the physician permitted the student-athlete to return to activity. Patients receiving HBO2 treatment experienced the greatest absolute symptom reduction over the five treatment sessions. No meaningful differences were found in mental status examination. All participants returned to activity in a similar timeframe. HBO2 therapy may be an effective option for the acute treatment of postconcussion symptoms, particularly in young athletes presenting with a high symptom burden.

Open access

Olivia Bartlett and James L. Farnsworth II

Clinical Scenario: Kinesiophobia is a common psychological phenomenon that occurs following injury involving fear of movement. These psychological factors contribute to the variability among patients’ perceived disability scores following injury. In addition, the psychophysiological, behavioral, and cognitive factors of kinesiophobia have been shown to be predictive of a patient’s self-reported disability and pain. Previous kinesiophobia research has mostly focused on lower-extremity injuries. There are fewer studies that investigate upper-extremity injuries despite the influence that upper-extremity injuries can have on an individual’s activities of daily living and, therefore, disability scores. The lack of research calls for a critical evaluation and appraisal of available evidence regarding kinesiophobia and its contribution to perceived disability for the upper-extremity. Focused Clinical Question: How does kinesiophobia in patients with upper-extremity injuries influence perceptions of disability and quality of life measurements? Summary of Key Findings: Two cross-sectional studies and one cohort study were included. The first study found a positive relationship between kinesiophobia and a high degree of perceived disability. Another study found that kinesiophobia and catastrophic thinking scores were the most important predictors of perceived upper-extremity disability. The third study found that kinesiophobia contributes to self-reported disability in the shoulder. Clinical Bottom Line: There is moderate evidence that supports the relationship between kinesiophobia and perceived disability, and the relationship between elevated perceptions of disability and increased kinesiophobia scores in patients with an upper-extremity injury. Clinicians should evaluate and monitor kinesiophobia in patients following injury, a condition that can enhance perceptions of disability. An elevated perception of disability can create a cycle of fear that leads to hypervigilance and fear-avoidance behavior. Strength of Recommendation: Consistent findings from reviewed studies suggest there is grade B evidence to support that kinesiophobia is related to an increased perceived disability following upper-extremity injuries.

Open access

Jeffrey B. Driban and Patrick O. McKeon