Ankle sprains represent a common musculoskeletal injury that clinicians are tasked with preventing and treating. Because of the prevalence of this injury, ankle braces have been designed to prophylactically protect the joint and reduce the incidence of repetitive sprains. Although an abundance of literature exists focusing on the efficacy of braces in preventing ankle sprains in young, healthy, and physically active populations, there is a scarcity of evidence specific to the impact of these apparatuses on functional performance; therefore, the purpose of this critically appraised topic (CAT) is to investigate the effects of ankle braces on functional performance measures in such individuals. The outcomes of this CAT will assist sport rehabilitation specialists with informed clinical decision making in managing young, healthy, and physically active populations using ankle braces. Do ankle braces hinder functional performance measures when compared with an unbraced condition in a young, healthy, and physically active population? A minimum of level II evidence research studies were surveyed for this CAT. For this CAT, 1 randomized controlled trial and 3 prospective cohort studies were selected. One study found a statistically significant main effect of increased agility run times while participants wore ankle braces. Another study demonstrated a statistically significant decrease in vertical jump height and ankle range of motion while wearing braces. No other statistically significant findings were reported among studies comparing unbraced with braced conditions. Current data indicate that young, healthy, and physically active individuals may experience varied performance effects when executing specific functional performance tasks while wearing ankle braces. In general, bracing does not appear to significantly impair performance on most functional tasks; however, decrements were noted to increases in agility run time and decreases in vertical jump height. Subsequent analysis indicated that a brace may result in decreased ankle plantarflexion, dorsiflexion, eversion, and inversion range of motion, which may underpin noted performance deficits.
Thomas M. Newman, Giampietro L. Vairo and William E. Buckley
Mary Lynn Manduca and Stephen J. Straub
Clinical Scenario: Hamstring strains are common athletic injuries, with a high-recurrence rate (34%). Recently, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections have gained popularity as a potential treatment option to accelerate healing of hamstring injury. Focused Clinical Question: Does the combination of PRP injection and rehabilitation decrease recovery time of acute hamstring injury as compared to rehabilitation alone in college athletes? Summary of Key Findings: A literature search resulted in 3 randomized controlled trials. One study showed benefits in various outcome measures with PRP, compared to rehabilitation alone, while 2 showed no benefits. One study reported improved pain, ultrasonography regenerative indications, and recovery time with PRP injection following acute hamstring injury; however, larger studies have shown no benefits. The literature demonstrates conflicting evidence regarding benefits of PRP injections in hamstring injuries. Clinical Bottom Line: At this time, PRP injections cannot be recommended as having value for hamstring injuries, compared to rehabilitation alone. Strength of Recommendation: Due to inconsistent or limited quality patient-oriented evidence in existing literature, the strength of this recommendation is grade B, based on the strength of recommendation taxonomy.
Cameron J. Powden, Matthew C. Hoch and Johanna M. Hoch
Context: There is an increased emphasis on the need to capture and incorporate self-reported function to make clinical decisions when providing patient-centered care. Response shift (RS), or a change in an individual’s self-evaluation of a construct, may affect the accurate assessment of change in self-reported function throughout the course of rehabilitation. A systematic review of this phenomenon may provide valuable information regarding the accuracy of self-reported function. Objectives: To systematically locate and synthesize the existing evidence regarding RS during care for various orthopedic conditions. Evidence Acquisition: Electronic databases (PubMed, MEDLINE, CINAHL, SPORTDiscus, and Psychology & Behavioral Sciences Collection) were searched from inception to November 2016. Two investigators independently assessed methodological quality using the modified Downs and Black Quality Index. The quality of evidence was assessed using the Strength-of-Recommendation Taxonomy. The magnitude of RS was examined through effect sizes. Evidence Synthesis: Nine studies were included (7 high quality and 2 low quality) with a median Downs and Black Quality Index score of 81.25% (range = 56.25%–93.75%). Overall, the studies demonstrated weak to strong effect sizes (range = −1.58–0.33), indicating the potential for RS. Of the 36 point estimates calculated, 22 (61.11%), 2 (5.56%), and 12 (33.33%) were associated with weak, moderate negative, and strong negative effect sizes, respectively. Conclusions: There is grade B evidence that a weak RS, in which individuals initially underestimate their disability, may occur in people undergoing rehabilitation for an orthopedic condition. It is important for clinicians to be aware of the potential shift in their patients’ internal standards, as it can affect the evaluation of health-related quality of life changes during the care of orthopedic conditions. A shift in the internal standards of the patient can lead to subsequent misclassification of health-related quality of life changes that can adversely affect clinical decision making.
Patrick O. McKeon and Jennifer M. Medina McKeon
Matthew J. Hussey, Alex E. Boron-Magulick, Tamara C. Valovich McLeod and Cailee E. Welch Bacon
Clinical Scenario: Shoulder range of motion (ROM) in throwing athletes relies on a balance of mobility and stability to maintain proper function and health that, if disrupted, can lead to shoulder injury. There have been several studies that address the relationship between ROM deficits and overhead injuries; however, it may be unclear to clinicians which interventions are most effective for increasing ROM in the glenohumeral joints of overhead athletes. Clinical Question: In overhead athletes who have deficient shoulder ROM, is instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM) more effective at acutely increasing ROM over the course of a patient’s treatment when compared with self-stretching? Summary of Key Findings: A thorough literature review yielded 3 studies relevant to the clinical question, and all 3 studies were included. Two articles found a significant increase in acute ROM when compared with a self-stretch measure. All 3 articles showed increases in internal rotation and horizontal adduction, and 1 study reported an increase in total arc of shoulder ROM. Clinical Bottom Line: There is moderate evidence to support the use of IASTM to acutely increase ROM in the glenohumeral joint of overhead athletes. Clinicians should be aware of the variability with recommended treatment times; however, positive results have been seen with treatments lasting 5 to 6 minutes per treatment region. There is no consensus for treatment intensity, and certain IASTM tools require certification. Strength of Recommendation: Grade B evidence exists that IASTM is more effective at increasing shoulder ROM (ie, internal rotation, horizontal adduction, external rotation, total arc of motion) in overhead athletes than self-stretching measures.
Sarah Daniels, Gabriela Santiago, Jennifer Cuchna and Bonnie Van Lunen
Clinical Scenario: Therapeutic ultrasound (US) is a popular modality among health care professionals and is used to treat a variety of musculoskeletal conditions. A new technology has been established to allow for the miniaturization of the US unit. Patients receive treatment with the device secured to them, eliminating the portability constraint of traditional US units. Early studies suggest that this portable unit can deliver low-intensity acoustic energy achieving the same temperature increase and pain relief that come from traditional US units, in a more versatile and patient-friendly manner. Clinical Question: What effects does low-intensity therapeutic ultrasound (LITUS) have on measurable outcomes? Summary of Key Findings: The literature was searched for level 4 evidence or higher that investigated the effectiveness of LITUS. The literature search produced 3 possible studies related to the clinical question: 2 randomized controlled trials and 1 case series met the inclusion and exclusion criteria. Of the included studies, 1 study investigated the effects of LITUS on tissue temperature, 2 studies investigated the effects of LITUS on pain, and 1 study investigated LITUS effects on function. Clinical Bottom Line: The evidence supports the use of the LITUS unit to increase tissue temperature, decrease pain, and increase function. Therefore, practitioners may consider the use of the LITUS unit in patient populations over the use of the traditional high-intensity US treatment. Strength of Recommendation: In accordance with the 2009 Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine levels of evidence, there is grade I (insufficient) evidence to support the positive effects of the LITUS device for improving the following clinical outcomes: tissue temperature, decreasing pain, and increasing function. The inconsistency in the measured outcomes across the 3 studies only allows for minimal support of the LITUS device, warranting further research. Although clinical outcomes were different in each study, consistent evidence ranging from 4 to 1B levels were found in the 3 included studies.
Melissa Theige and Shannon David
Clinical Scenario: Surgical treatment of acetabular labral tears has been explored in multiple studies, while there is a lack of research on the effectiveness of conservative methods. Focused Clinical Question: To what extent can nonsurgical treatment produce symptomatic or functional improvements in athletes with an acetabular labral tear? Summary of Search, Best Evidence Appraised, and Key Findings: The literature was searched for studies of patients with confirmed acetabular labral tears who participated in any level of sport. Four studies were located, all of which were included. Clinical Bottom Line: The research discussed in this review agreed that conservative management of acetabular labral tears produced measurable improvements in pain and function among the athletes studied, including their ability to participate in sport activities. Based on these findings, it appears that conservative management is effective at rehabilitating athletes with acetabular labral tears. However, this method should not be applied to every athlete based on the low strength of current research. Treatment plans should be decided upon on a case-by-case basis. Strength of Recommendation: The studies located were of low quality. The highest Oxford Center for Evidence-Based Medicine Level of Evidence achieved was 4. Higher level studies must be conducted before the conclusions of this research can be applied clinically with assertion. Strength of recommendation is level 3.
Kathryn Mills, Aula Idris, Thu-An Pham, John Porte, Mark Wiggins and Manolya Kavakli
Objectives: To determine the validity and reliability of the peak frontal plane knee angle evaluated by a virtual reality (VR) netball game when landing from a drop vertical jump. Study Design: Laboratory. Methods: Forty participants performed 3 drop vertical jumps evaluated by 3-dimensional motion analysis and 3 drop vertical jumps evaluated by the VR game. Limits of agreement for the peak projected frontal plane knee angle and peak knee abduction were determined. Participants were given a consensus category of “above threshold” or “below threshold” based on a prespecified threshold angle of 9° during landing. Classification agreement was determined using kappa coefficient, and accuracy was determined using specificity and sensitivity. Ten participants returned 1 week later to determine intrarater reliability, standard error of the measure, and typical error. Results: The mean difference in detected frontal plane knee angle was 3.39° (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.03° to 5.74°). Limits of agreement were −10.27° (95% CI, −14.36° to −6.19°) to 17.05° (95% CI, 12.97° to 21.14°). Substantial agreement, specificity, and sensitivity were observed for the threshold classification (κ = .66; 95% CI, .42 to .88; specificity = 0.96; 95% CI, 0.78 to 1.0; and sensitivity = 0.75; 95% CI, 0.43 to 0.95). The game exhibited acceptable reliability over time (intraclass correlation coefficient, ICC3,1 = .844), and error was approximately 2°. Conclusion: The VR game reliably evaluated a projected frontal plane knee angle. Although the knee angle detected by the VR game is strongly related to peak knee abduction, the accuracy of detecting the exact angle was limited. A threshold approach may be a more accurate approach for gaming technology to evaluate frontal plane knee angles when landing from a jump.
Chelsey Klimek, Christopher Ashbeck, Alexander J. Brook and Chris Durall
Clinical Scenario: CrossFit is a form of exercise that incorporates rapid and successive high-intensity ballistic movements. As CrossFit is an increasingly popular fitness option, it is important to determine how rates of injury compare to more traditional forms of exercise. This review was conducted to ascertain the incidence of injury with CrossFit relative to other forms of exercise. Focused Clinical Question: Are injuries more common with CrossFit training than other forms of exercise? Summary of Key Findings: (1) The literature was searched for studies that compared injury rates among individuals who participated in CrossFit fitness programs to participants in other exercise programs. (2) The search initially yielded >100 results, which were narrowed down to 3 level 2b retrospective cohort studies that were deemed to have met inclusion/exclusion criteria. (3) In all 3 reviewed studies, the reported incidences of injuries associated with CrossFit training programs were comparable or lower than rates of injury in Olympic weightlifting, distance running, track and field, rugby, or gymnastics. Clinical Bottom Line: Current evidence suggests that the injury risk from CrossFit training is comparable to Olympic weightlifting, distance running, track and field, rugby, football, ice hockey, soccer, or gymnastics. Injuries to the shoulder(s) appear to be somewhat common with CrossFit. However, the certitude of these conclusions is questionable given the lack of randomization, control, or uniform training in the reviewed studies. Clinicians should be aware that injury is more prevalent in cases where supervision is not always available to athletes. This is more often the case for male participants who may not actively seek supervision during CrossFit exercise. Strength of Recommendation: Level 2b evidence from 3 retrospective cohort studies indicates that the risk of injury from participation in CrossFit is comparable to or lower than some common forms of exercise or strength training.
Miranda Brunett and René Revis Shingles
Clinical Scenario: The level of cultural competence of health care providers has been studied. However, limited scholarship has examined whether the cultural competence of the health care provider affects patient satisfaction. Focused Clinical Question: Does cultural competence of health care providers influence patient satisfaction with their experience with their provider? Summary of Key Findings: Having a culturally competent health care provider, or one who a patient perceives as culturally competent, does increase patient satisfaction. Clinical Bottom Line: Cultural competence in health care plays an important role in patients being satisfied with their providers, as well as patients willingly and actively participating in their treatment. Strength of Recommendation: Questions 1 to 5 and 9 of the critical appraisal skills program were answered “yes” for all studies in the critically appraised topic. Thus, the authors strongly support the findings.