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Open access

Janelle Prince, Eric Schussler and Ryan McCann

Clinical Scenario: A sport-related concussion is a common injury to the brain that may cause a variety of symptoms ranging in duration and severity. The mainstay of treatment for concussion has been rest, followed by a stepwise return to activity. This recovery process may be lengthy when symptoms persist. Aerobic exercise conducted at subsymptom and submaximal intensities has been proposed as a potential intervention for symptoms following a concussion. Therefore, the purpose of this critically appraised topic is to examine the safety of varying aerobic exercise intensities in patients with a concussion. Focused Clinical Question: Are subsymptom and submaximal exercise programs safe when implemented in a population with a symptomatic sports-related concussion when compared with traditional rest? Summary of Key Findings: Four randomized controlled trials were included for critical appraisal. The 4 studies investigated supervised and controlled aerobic exercise as early as within 1 week of with a concussion; all studies conclude that exercise is safe and may be of benefit to individuals with a concussion. Two studies support the use of submaximal exercise as a therapeutic intervention for adolescents with persistent concussion symptoms. Clinical Bottom Line: The authors conclude that controlled exercise performed within the symptom or exertion threshold of patients with concussion is safe compared with rest. It was noted that symptom changes may occur; however, the changes did not have a negative impact on long-term recovery. This research should ease concerns about prescribing physical activity when an athlete with concussion is still experiencing lingering symptoms. While specific parameters of the activity performed have not been described in detail, the individualization of each exercise program was stressed. Strength of Recommendation: Grade A.

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Yuko Kuramatsu, Yuji Yamamoto and Shin-Ichi Izumi

This study investigated the sensorimotor strategies for dynamic balance control in individuals with stroke by restricting sensory input that might influence task accomplishment. Sit-to-stand movements were performed with restricted vision by participants with hemiparesis and healthy controls. The authors evaluated the variability in the position of participants’ center of mass and velocity, and the center-of-pressure position, in each orthogonal direction at the lift-off point. When vision was restricted, the variability in the mediolateral center-of-pressure position decreased significantly in individuals with hemiparesis, but not in healthy controls. Participants with hemiparesis adopted strategies that explicitly differed from those used by healthy individuals. Variability may be decreased in the direction that most requires accuracy. Individuals with hemiparesis have been reported to have asymmetrical balance deficits, and that meant they had to prioritize mediolateral motion control to prevent falling. This study suggests that individuals with hemiparesis adopt strategies appropriate to their characteristics.

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Patrick O. McKeon and Jennifer M. Medina McKeon

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Xin Fu, Patrick Shu-hang Yung, Chun Cheong Ma and Hio Teng Leong

Context: Rotator cuff tendinopathy is one of the most frequently reported shoulder injuries in athletes of overhead sports. Abnormal scapular kinematics has been proposed as one of the contributing factors of rotator cuff tendinopathy in overhead athletes. Objectives: To review the literature on 3-dimensional scapular kinematics in overhead athletes with and without rotator cuff tendinopathy. Evidence Acquisition: Electronic databases (Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, Embase, and PubMed) were searched from inception to September 2017. In addition, the reference lists of the articles that met the inclusion criteria were also searched. We included studies that compared the changes in 3-dimensional scapular kinematics in athletes with and without rotator cuff tendinopathy. Two reviewers independently examined the quality of studies by using the modified Downs and Black checklist. Evidence Synthesis: A total of 9 studies (a total of 332 athletes, mean age 23.41 [2.62] y) were included in the final analysis. The methodological quality was low (modified Downs and Black checklist = 9/15). Our findings showed a consistent pattern of increased scapular anterior tilting and internal rotation in the dominant shoulders than the nondominant shoulders of athletes who participated in overhead sports. Athletes of overhead sports seem to demonstrate an increase in scapular upward rotation during arm elevation when compared with nonathlete individuals. However, there is no consensus on the scapular kinematics pattern in athletes with rotator cuff tendinopathy when compared with healthy controls. Conclusion: Findings demonstrated that changes in scapular kinematics were observed in overhead athletes. However, all the included studies were cross-sectional studies with small sample size and diverse sports participation, whether changes in scapular kinematics may contribute to rotator cuff tendinopathy in overhead athletes warrants more high-quality prospective studies.

Open access

Damla Karabay, Yusuf Emük and Derya Özer Kaya

Context: Selective strengthening of scapular stabilizers is one of the emphases of the recent literature. Closed kinetic chain (CKC) exercises are used extensively in shoulder rehabilitation. However, a limited number of studies have reported scapular muscle ratios during CKC exercises. Objectives: To determine the CKC exercises producing the optimal ratios of the scapular stabilizer muscles in healthy shoulders. Evidence Acquisition: A systematic search within PubMed, Embase, CINAHL Plus, and SPORTDiscus with Full Text and ULAKBIM National Medical Database was performed up to January 2018. Studies were selected according to the predetermined criteria. If the pooled mean ratios (upper trapezius [UT]/middle trapezius [MT], UT/lower trapezius [LT], and UT/serratus anterior [SA]), which were calculated from the percentage of maximum voluntary contractions of muscles, were <0.60, these exercises were considered as ideal for higher activation of the MT, LT, and SA than the UT. Evidence Synthesis: The search identified 1284 studies, and 29 observational studies were included for review. Seventy-nine CKC exercises were determined. Four exercises for the MT, 9 for the LT, and 59 for the SA were identified from the articles as being optimal exercises to activate the specified muscle more than the UT. Conclusions: This review identified optimal CKC exercises that provide good ratios between the MT, LT, and SA with the UT. Most exercises have optimal UT/SA ratios, but some exercises performed on unstable surfaces may lead to excessive activation of the UT relative to the SA. For the UT/MT, the isometric low row, inferior glide, and half supine pull-up with slings are the ideal exercises. Isometric one-hand knee push-up variations seem to be the best choice for the UT/LT. The results suggest that many CKC exercises may be utilized to enhance scapular muscle balance when rehabilitating shoulder pathology.

Open access

Maja Zamoscinska, Irene R. Faber and Dirk Büsch

Clinical Scenario: Reduced bone mineral density (BMD) is a serious condition in older adults. The mild form, osteopenia, is often a precursor of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a pathological condition and a global health problem as it is one of the most common diseases in developed countries. Finding solutions for prevention and therapy should be prioritized. Therefore, the critically appraised topic focuses on strength training as a treatment to counteract a further decline in BMD in older adults. Clinical Question: Is strength training beneficial in increasing BMD in older people with osteopenia or osteoporosis? Summary of Key Findings: Four of the 5 reviewed studies with the highest evidence showed a significant increase in lumbar spine BMD after strength training interventions in comparison with control groups. The fifth study confirmed the maintenance of lumbar spine density due to conducted exercises. Moreover, 3 reviewed studies revealed increasing BMD at the femoral neck after strength training when compared with controls, which appeared significant in 2 of them. Clinical Bottom Line: The findings indicate that strength training has a significant positive influence on BMD in older women (ie, postmenopausal) with osteoporosis or osteopenia. However, it is not recommended to only rely on strength training as the increase of BMD may not appear fast enough to reach the minimal desired values. A combination of strength training and supplements/medication seems most adequate. Generalization of the findings to older men with reduced BMD should be done with caution due to the lack of studies. Strength of Recommendation: There is grade B of recommendation to support the validity of strength training for older women in postmenopausal phase with reduced BMD.

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Christian A. Clermont, Andrew J. Pohl and Reed Ferber

Context: The risk of experiencing an overuse running-related injury can increase with atypical running biomechanics associated with neuromuscular fatigue and/or training errors. While it is important to understand the changes in running biomechanics within a fatigue-inducing run, it may be more clinically relevant to assess gait patterns in the days following a marathon to better evaluate the effects of inadequate recovery on injury. Objective: To use center of mass (CoM) acceleration patterns to investigate changes in running patterns prior to (PRE) and at 2 (POST2) and 7 (POST7) days following a marathon race. Design: Pre–post intervention study. Setting: A 200-m oval track surface. Participants: Seventeen recreational marathon runners (10 females, age = 34.2 [5.67] y; 7 males, age = 47.41 [15.32] y). Intervention: Marathon race. Main Outcome Measures: An inertial measurement unit was placed near the CoM to collect triaxial acceleration data during overground running for PRE, POST2, and POST7 sessions. Twenty-two features were extracted from the acceleration waveforms to characterize different aspects of running gait. Lower-limb musculoskeletal pain was also recorded at each session with a visual analog scale. Results: At POST2, runners reported higher self-reported pain and exhibited elevated peak mediolateral acceleration with an increased mediolateral ratio of acceleration root mean square compared with PRE. At POST7, pain was reduced and more similar to PRE, with runners demonstrating increased stride regularity in the vertical direction and decreased peak resultant acceleration. Conclusions: The observed changes in CoM motion at POST2 may be associated with atypical running biomechanics that can translate to greater mediolateral impulses, potentially increasing the risk of injury. This study demonstrates the use of an accelerometer as an effective tool to detect atypical CoM motion for runners due to fatigue, recovery, and musculoskeletal pain in real-world environments.

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Joseph Hamill

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Daniel Gilfeather, Grant Norte, Christopher D. Ingersoll and Neal R. Glaviano

Context: Central activation ratio (CAR) is a common outcome measure used to quantify gross neuromuscular function of the quadriceps using the superimposed burst technique, yet this outcome measure has not been validated in the gluteal musculature. Objective: To quantify gluteus medius (GMed) and gluteus maximus (GMax) CAR in a healthy population and evaluate its validity and reliability over a 1-week period. Design: Descriptive. Setting: Laboratory. Patients or Other Participants: A total of 20 healthy participants (9 males and 11 females; age 22.2 [1.4] y, height 173.4 [11.1] cm, mass 84.8 [25.8] kg) were enrolled in this study. Interventions: Participants were assessed at 2 sessions, separated by 1 week. Progressive electrical stimuli (25%, 50%, 75%, and 100%) were delivered to the GMed and GMax at rest, and 100% stimuli were delivered during progressive hip abduction and extension contractions (25%, 50%, 75%, and 100% maximal voluntary isometric contraction). Main Outcome Measures: GMed and GMax CAR, and hip abduction and hip extension maximal voluntary isometric contraction torque. Line of best fit and coefficient of determination (r 2) were used to assess the relationship between torque output and CAR at varying levels of stimuli. Intraclass correlation coefficients, ICCs(3,k), were used to assess the between-session reliability. Results: GMed CAR was 96.1% (3.4%) and 96.6% (3.2%), on visits 1 and 2, respectively, whereas GMax CAR was 86.5% (7.5%) and 87.2% (10.7%) over the 2 sessions. A third-order polynomial demonstrated the best line of fit between varying superimposed burst intensities at rest for both GMed (r 2 = .156) and GMax (r 2 = .602). Linear relationships were observed in the CAR during progressive contractions with a maximal superimposed burst, GMed (r 2 = .409) and GMax (r 2 = .639). Between-session reliability was excellent for GMed CAR, ICC(3,k) = .911, and moderate for GMax CAR, ICC(3,k) = .704. Conclusion: CAR appears to be an acceptable measure of GMed and GMax neuromuscular function in healthy individuals. Gluteal CAR measurements are reliable measures over a 1-week test period.

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Jay R. Ebert, Kate E. Webster, Peter K. Edwards, Brendan K. Joss, Peter D’Alessandro, Greg Janes and Peter Annear

Context: The importance of rehabilitation and evaluation prior to return to sport (RTS) in patients undergoing anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction has been reported. Objective: This study sought to investigate current perspectives of Australian orthopedic surgeons on rehabilitation and RTS evaluation. Design: Survey. Participants: Members of the Australian Knee Society. Main Outcome Measures: A 14-question survey was disseminated to Australian Knee Society members (orthopedic surgeons) to investigate (1) preferred graft choice, (2) estimated retear rate, (3) importance of preoperative and postoperative rehabilitation, and (4) preferred timing of RTS and evaluation prior to RTS discharge. Results: Of all 85 Australian Knee Society members contacted, 86% (n = 73) responded. Overall, 66 respondents (90.4%) preferentially used hamstring tendon autografts. All surgeons estimated their retear rate to be ≤15%, with 31 (42.5%) <5%. Twenty-eight surgeons (38.4%) reported no benefit in preoperative rehabilitation. The majority of surgeons (82.2%–94.5%) reported that postoperative rehabilitation was important within various periods throughout the postoperative timeline. Most surgeons did not permit RTS until ≥9 months (n = 56, 76.7%), with 17 (23.3%) allowing RTS between 6 and 9 months. The most highly reported considerations for RTS clearance were time (90.4%), functional capacity (90.4%), and strength (78.1%). Most commonly, knee strength and/or function was assessed via referral to a preferred rehabilitation specialist (50.7%) or with the surgeon at their practice (11.0%). Conclusions: This survey revealed variation in beliefs and practices surrounding rehabilitation and RTS evaluation. This is despite the current evidence demonstrating the benefit of preoperative and postoperative rehabilitation, as well as the emerging potential of RTS assessments consisting of strength and functional measures to reduce reinjury rates.