The diagnosis of thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) is challenging and primarily determined by clinical examination. Symptoms such as numbness and tingling in the arms when raised above the head make the rehabilitation process difficult due to the various manifestations of TOS presented to the athletic trainer (AT). An AT should understand the intricate anatomical characteristics of the thoracic outlet and how various TOS presentations may impact treatment. In this clinical commentary, I provide my own insights for understanding TOS from my perspective as a patient and AT. These insights are valuable when making diagnostic, therapeutic, and prognostic clinical decisions.
Scott W. Cheatham and Russell Baker
Context: Kinesiology tape (KT) is a therapeutic intervention used to treat different musculoskeletal conditions and to enhance sports performance. The evidence is inconclusive, with researchers attributing the variable outcomes to different manufactured KT used in the research. Researchers have begun to measure and document the mechanical properties of different brands, using machines versus professionals. This prevents a clear translation to clinical practice, as it may be difficult to reproduce outcomes. There is a need to measure the mechanical properties of KT using more clinically relevant methodology. Objective: The purpose was to document a clinically relevant method of measuring the mechanical properties of 2 different types of precut RockTape® tape at common elongation lengths and to establish the methodology for future validation research on this testing method. Design: Controlled laboratory study. Setting: University laboratory. Participants: One researcher conducted all measurements. Procedures: Each tape was measured at 3 elongation lengths with a force gauge. Main Outcome Measures: Force, stress, and Young modulus. Results: The RockTape® 2 and RockTape® 3 elongation force were 25% = 2.27 (0.21) and 2.12 (0.26) N, 50% = 6.51 (0.27) and 5.93 (0.20) N, and 75% = 30.13 (0.63) and 21.23 (0.41) N. The stress values for the RockTape® 2 and RockTape® 3 were 25% = 0.88 (0.05) and 0.82 (0.03) kPa, 50% = 2.52 (0.03) and 2.29 (0.01) kPa, and 75% = 11.67 (0.04) and 8.23 (0.02) kPa. The Young modulus values for the RockTape® 2 and RockTape® 3 were 25% = 3.51 (0.00) and 3.29 (0.00) kPa, 50% = 5.04 (0.00) and 4.60 (0.00) kPa, and 75% = 15.57 (0.00) and 10.96 (0.00) kPa. Conclusion: This investigation documented a novel method of measuring the mechanical properties of 2 types of RockTape® KT. Future research should attempt to validate these testing methods.
Emily R. Hunt, Cassandra N. Parise and Timothy A. Butterfield
Clinical Scenario: Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) ruptures are one of the most common injuries in young athletic populations. The leading treatment for these injuries is ACL reconstruction (ACL-r); however, nonoperative treatments are also utilized. Following ACL-r, patients experience prolonged muscle weakness and atrophy of the quadriceps muscle group, regardless of rehabilitation. Nonoperative treatment plans following ACL injury exist, but their outcomes are less familiar, in spite of providing insight as a nonsurgical “control” for postsurgical rehabilitation outcomes. Therefore, the purpose of this critically appraised topic was to evaluate quadriceps strength and function following nonoperative ACL rehabilitation using objective and subjective measures including isokinetic dynamometry, the single-leg hop test, and the International Knee Documentation Committee (IKDC) subjective knee form. Focused Clinical Question: What are the effects of nonoperative treatment on peak isokinetic knee-extensor torque, the single-leg hop tests, and the IKDC in patients who have sustained an ACL rupture? Summary of Key Findings: Patients who underwent nonsurgical ACL treatment produced limb symmetry index, with the side-to-side torque difference expressed as a percentage, and values at or above 90% for all 4 single-leg hop tests and strength tests similar to ACL-r patients. All studies showed individuals had higher IKDC scores at baseline collection when compared with patients who underwent ACL-r but showed lower IKDC scores at long-term follow-up compared with ACL-r patients. Clinical Bottom Line: Nonoperative treatments of ACL injuries yield similar long-term results in quadriceps strength as ACL-r. Due to the quality of evidence and the absence of randomized controlled trials on this topic, these outcomes should be considered with caution. Strength of Recommendation: The Oxford Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine taxonomy recommends a grade of B for level 2 evidence with consistent findings.
Rebecca L. Dubas, Elizabeth F. Teel, Melissa C. Kay, Eric D. Ryan, Meredith A. Petschauer and Johna K. Register-Mihalik
Context: Currently, there is no gold standard to evaluate the effect of varying game-like exertion states on Sport Concussion Assessment Tool 3rd Edition (SCAT-3) outcomes. Baseline assessments may occur before, during, or after physical activity, while postinjury evaluations predominantly occur following physical activity. Thus, clinicians may be comparing postinjury evaluations completed following exertion to baseline evaluations completed following varying levels of rest or exertion, which may not be a valid method for clinical decision making. Objective: To determine the effect of various physical exertion levels on sideline concussion assessment outcomes and reliability. Design: Within-subjects, repeated measures. Setting: Field. Participants: Physically active participants (N = 36) who regularly participate in basketball activity. Intervention: Subjects participated in 2 simulated basketball games, completing a symptom checklist, Standardized Assessment of Concussion, and Balance Error Scoring System before game play, during halftime, and at the completion of each simulated game. Pulse rate was assessed as a proxy of physical exertion. Main Outcome Measures: Total symptom, Standardized Assessment of Concussion, and Balance Error Scoring System scores. Results: Physical exertion did not significantly predict symptom, Standardized Assessment of Concussion, or Balance Error Scoring System scores, although a trend toward higher symptom scores was observed for females (ß = 0.03, P = .09). All assessments had poor to moderate reliability across sessions (.15 < interclass correlation coefficient [2,1] < .60). Conclusion: Low- to moderate-intensity physical activity did not have a significant effect on clinical concussion sideline assessments; however, the low test–retest reliability observed prevents strong conclusions on these relationships. The poor overall reliability does not allow for clear recommendations for what state of baseline physical exertion (ie, rested or exerted) provides optimal data to make postinjury clinical decisions, although baseline concussion assessments completed at rest have the most valid and conservative normative values for injury comparison.
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.
Pedro Gómez-Carmona, Ismael Fernández-Cuevas, Manuel Sillero-Quintana, Javier Arnaiz-Lastras and Archit Navandar
Context: Infrared thermography has been used to detect skeletal muscle overload and fatigue in athletes, but its use in injury prevention in professional soccer has not been studied to date. Objectives: To establish a novel injury prevention program based on infrared thermography and to determine its influence on the injury incidence in professional soccer players in the preseason. Design: A cross-sectional, prospective study design was used to compare a conventional injury prevention program (CPP) applied over the first preseason and an infrared thermography injury prevention program (IRTPP) carried out in the following preseason. Setting: Soccer training ground. Participants: Twenty-four players belonging to a first division soccer team from Spain. Main Outcome Measures: Injury incidences of each player were recorded according to the Orchard Sports Injury Classification System (version 10.0) convention to determine the injury classification, location, and type. Results: The incidence of injuries decreased from 15 injuries in the CPP preseason (0.63 [0.77] injuries per player) to 6 injuries in the second preseason when the IRTPP was applied (0.25 [0.53] injuries per player). The days of absence due to injuries also decreased from the CPP preseason (156 d, 10.4 [11.0] d per injury) to the IRTPP preseason (14 d, 2.3 [2.8] d per injury). The injury severity also decreased from the first preseason to the second preseason, and fewer musculoskeletal injuries in the thigh, hip, and groin were reported. Conclusions: The implementation of an IRTPP can reduce the presence of injuries by identifying players potentially at risk and as a result, reducing the injury severity and days lost as a consequence.
Joseph Hannon, J. Craig Garrison, Sharon Wang-Price, Shiho Goto, Angellyn Grondin, James Bothwell and Curtis Bush
Context: Joint loading following anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACL-R) is thought to influence long-term outcomes. However, our understanding of the role of meniscus repair at the time of ACL-R on early joint loading is limited. Objective: To assess if differences in total energy absorption and energy absorption contribution of the hip, knee, and ankle exist in the early stages of rehabilitation between patients who received an isolated ACL-R and those with concomitant meniscal repairs. Design: Cross-sectional. Setting: Clinical laboratory. Patients: Fifty-nine human subjects, including 27 who underwent ACL-R and 32 who underwent ACL-R with concomitant meniscal repairs. Main Outcome Measure: The total energy absorption and the energy absorption contribution of each joint of both the involved and uninvolved limbs during a double-limb squat task. Results: There were significant differences in energy absorption contribution between groups at the knee joint (P = .01) and the hip joint (P = .04), but not at the ankle joint (P = .48) of the involved limb. Post hoc analysis indicates that preoperative hip and knee loading differences exist and when you control for preoperative loading (analysis of covariance), the postsurgery difference was not significant. Conclusions: The results of the study suggest that the additional surgical procedure of MR may not have had negative effects on joint loading during squatting at 12 weeks.
Ashley L. Santo, Melissa L. Race and Elizabeth F. Teel
Context: Convergence dysfunction following concussion is common. Near point of convergence (NPC) is a quick and easy assessment that may detect oculomotor dysfunction such as convergence insufficiency (CI), but NPC measurements are rarely reported. Convergence dysfunction is treatable in otherwise healthy patients; the effectiveness of oculomotor therapy following concussion is unclear. Objectives: The purpose of this article was to systematically review the literature and answer the following clinical questions: (1) Is performance on NPC negatively affected in patients diagnosed with a concussion compared with pre-injury levels or healthy controls? (2) In patients diagnosed with concussion, what is the effect of oculomotor/vision therapy on NPC break measurements? Evidence Acquisition: The search was conducted in CINAHL, SPORTDiscus, MEDLINE, and PubMed using terms related to concussion, mild traumatic brain injury, convergence, vision, and rehabilitation. Literature considered for review included original research publications that collected measures of NPC break in concussion patients, with a pretest–posttest comparison or comparison with a healthy control group. A literature review was completed; 242 relevant articles were reviewed, with 18 articles meeting criteria for inclusion in the review. Evidence Synthesis: Articles were categorized according to the clinical question they addressed. The patient or participant sample (number, sex, age, and health status), study design, instrumentation, or intervention used, and main results were extracted from each article. Conclusions: The authors' main findings suggest that there is a moderate level of evidence that patients have impaired NPC up to several months postconcussion, and a low level of evidence that impairments can be successfully treated with oculomotor therapy. These findings should be cautiously evaluated; the studies are limited by weak/moderate quality, small sample sizes, varied methodology, and nonrandomized treatment groups. Future research should explore factors affecting convergence postconcussion and include randomized, controlled studies to determine if performing vision therapy improves visual measures and promotes recovery.