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Open access

Eric P. Scibek, Matthew F. Moran and Susan L. Edmond

Context: The deep squat (DS) test is a component of the functional movement screen, which is used to assess the quality of fundamental movement patterns; however, the accuracy of the DS has not been studied. The DS is a complex, total body movement pattern with evaluation required at several points along the kinematic chain. Objective: To assess the accuracy of DS scoring by an athletic trainer, physical therapist, and exercise science professional via a comparative analysis with kinematic data (KD) and to identify scoring criteria that would improve agreement between raters and KD scores. Design: Cross-sectional study. Setting: Motion analysis laboratory. Participants: A rater from each of 3 movement science disciplines rated the DS of 23 male college athletes (20.3 [1.2] y; 70.5 [3.5] kg). Interventions: Subjects were outfitted with reflective markers and asked to perform the DS. The DS performance was scored by 3 raters and kinematic analysis. Subsequently, the optimal set of criteria that minimized the difference between mode rater score and KD was determined via a Nelder–Mead simplex optimization routine. Main Outcome Measures: Intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs) were calculated using SPSS (version 23; IBM, Armonk, NY) to determine tester agreement with the KD score and between the mode score and KD score. Results: Agreement was poor for the athletic trainer (ICC = .387), physical therapist (ICC = .298), exercise science professional (ICC = .378), and raters’ DS scores when compared with the KD. Agreement was poor for the mode score when compared with KD prior to optimization and good following optimization (ICC = .830), thereby allowing identification of specific scoring errors. Conclusions: Agreement for DS scores is poor when compared with KD; however, it may be improved with optimization of DS scoring criteria.

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Josep C. Benítez-Martínez, Pablo Martínez-Ramírez, Fermín Valera-Garrido, Jose Casaña-Granell and Francesc Medina-Mirapeix

Context: The prevalence and negative consequences of the symptoms surrounding patellar tendinopathy constitute an important problem for sports medicine professionals. The identification of potential pain mediators is, therefore, of major interest to improve both the prevention and management of this injury. Objective: To compare the pain experienced by elite male adult basketball players and patterns of patellar tendon abnormalities. Also, to identify whether structural and vascular sonographic abnormalities (focal area of hypoechogenicity, thickening, and neovascularization [NV]) are equal in determining pain perceptions. Design: An observational study with professional basketball teams (ACB—Spanish league). Participants: A total of 73 male basketball players (mean age 26.8 y). Main Outcome Measures: Patellar tendon ultrasonography images. Pain scores were compared between the identified patterns. Multiple regression analysis was used to examine the relative importance of abnormalities. Results: Of the 146 tendons, 91 had some degree of sonographic abnormality. Three main patterns were identified: I (1 structural abnormality without NV), II (2 structural abnormalities without NV), and III (2 structural abnormalities and NV). A total of 31 tendons (21.2%) exhibited pattern I, 46 (31.5%) presented pattern II, and 13 tendons (8.9%) exhibited pattern III. The mean visual analog scale and the Victorian Institute of Sport assessment questionnaire—patellar tendon (VISA-P) scores for pattern III were significantly different (P < .05) compared with patterns I and II; however, the pain pressure threshold (PPT) scores were not. NV was significantly associated with worsened scores for all pain measures; however, the focal area of hypoechogenicity was only associated with PPT scores. Conclusion: Patterns of sonographic abnormalities, including NV, demonstrated greater pain. Although NV determined scores for the visual analog scale, VISA-P, and PPT, the presence of focal area of hypoechogenicity on its own is a determining factor for the PPT. This study suggests that the combination of 2 or more sonographic abnormalities may help explain pain variations among basketball players.

Open access

Christopher P. Tomczyk, George Shaver and Tamerah N. Hunt

Clinical Scenario: Anxiety is a mental disorder that affects a large portion of the population and may be problematic when evaluating brain injuries such as concussion. The reliance of cognitive testing in concussion protocols call for the examination of potential cognitive alterations commonly seen in athletes with anxiety. Focused Clinical Question: Does anxiety affect neuropsychological assessments in healthy college athletes? Summary of Key Findings: Three studies were included: 1 cross-sectional study and 2 prospective cohort studies. One study examined the effect of a range of psychological issues on concussion baseline testing in college athletes. Another study examined the effect of anxiety on reaction time both before and after sport competition in college-aged athletes. The final study examined the effects of psychosocial issues on reaction time during demanding tasks in college athletes. The first study reported slower simple and complex reaction times in athletes with anxiety. The second study found that athletes with high trait anxiety have slower reaction times both before and after competition. The third study reported that demanding tasks led to increased state anxiety which slowed reaction time. Overall, all 3 studies support the adverse effect anxiety can have on cognitive testing in athletes. Clinical Bottom Line: College athletes who present with anxiety at baseline may be susceptible to decreased performance on neuropsychological assessments. Strength of Recommendation: There is level B evidence that anxiety in healthy college athletes can impact neuropsychological assessments, and level C evidence that anxiety at baseline concussion assessment impacts neuropsychological testing in college athletes.

Open access

Ryan D. Henke, Savana M. Kettner, Stephanie M. Jensen, Augustus C.K. Greife and Christopher J. Durall

ClinicalScenario: Low-intensity aerobic exercise (LIAEX) below the threshold of symptom exacerbation has been shown to be superior to rest for resolving prolonged (>4 wk) symptoms following sport-related concussion (SRC), but the effects of LIAEX earlier than 4 weeks after SRC need to be elucidated. Focused Clinical Question: Does LIAEX within the first 4 weeks following SRC hasten symptom resolution? Summary of Key Findings: Two randomized controlled trials (RCT) and 1 nonrandomized trial involving adolescent athletes (10–19 y) were included. One RCT reported faster recovery time with LIAEX versus placebo stretching. Likewise, recovery time was faster with LIAEX versus rest in the nonrandomized trial, but not in the underpowered RCT, although effect sizes were similar between these studies (0.5 and 0.4, respectively). All 3 studies reported a reduction in concussion symptom severity with LIAEX; however, the magnitude of symptom reduction across the recovery timeline was greater in the LIAEX group than the rest group in the nonrandomized trial, but not the 2 RCTs. Importantly, no adverse effects or incidence of delayed recovery from LIAEX were reported in any of the studies. Clinical Bottom Line: LIAEX initiated within 10 days after SRC may facilitate a faster recovery time versus placebo stretching or rest, although additional clinical trials are strongly advised to verify this. Strength of Recommendation: Level 1b and 2b evidence suggests subsymptom exacerbation LIAEX may decrease Postconcussion Symptom Scale scores and hasten symptom resolution in adolescent athletes following SRC.

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TaeYeong Kim, JaeHyuk Lee, SeJun Oh, Seungmin Kim and BumChul Yoon

Context: A simulated horseback riding (SHR) exercise is effective for improvement of pain and functional disability, but its comparative effectiveness with the other is unknown. Objective: The authors aimed to demonstrate the effect of a SHR exercise in people with chronic low back pain. Design: A randomized controlled trial. Settings: Community and university campus. Participants: A total of 48 participants with chronic low back pain were divided into 2 groups, and SHR exercises (n = 24) or stabilization (STB) exercises (n = 24) were performed. Interventions: The exercises were performed for 30 minutes, 2 days per week for 8 weeks. Main Outcome Measures: Numeric rating scale, functional disabilities (Oswestry disability index and Roland–Morris disability), and fear-avoidance beliefs questionnaire (FABQ) scores were measured at baseline and at 4 weeks, 8 weeks, and 6 months. Results: A 2-way repeated analysis of variance identified that between-group comparisons showed significant differences in the FABQ related to work scale (F = 21.422; P = .01). There were no significant differences in the numeric rating scale (F = 1.696; P = .21), Oswestry disability index (F = 1.848; P = .20), Roland–Morris disability (F = 0.069; P = .80), and FABQ related to physical scale (F = 1.579; P = .24). In within-group comparisons, both groups presented significant differences in numeric rating scale (both SHR and STB after 4 wk), Oswestry disability index (both SHR and STB after 6 mo), and Roland–Morris disability (SHR after 6 mo and STB after 8 wk) compared with baseline values. In FABQ-related physical (SHR after 4 wk) and work scales (SHR after 6 mo), there were only significant differences in the SHR compared with baseline values. Conclusions: SHR exercise for 8 weeks had a greater effect than STB exercise for reducing work-related FABQ. The SHR exercise performed in a seated position could substantially decrease pain-related fear disability in young adults with chronic low back pain.

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Monna Arvinen-Barrow, Nathan Maresh and Jennifer Earl-Boehm

Context: The use of active video games (AVG) as a treatment modality in the rehabilitation context is increasing. However, little is known about the functional outcomes and psychological benefits of such rehabilitation in college athletes with lateral ankle sprains (LASs). Objective: To examine functional outcomes and psychological benefits of AVG-aided rehabilitation program for LAS. Design: A mixed-methods, single-subject case series design. Setting: College athletic training clinic. Patients: Two female college soccer players who sustained LAS (grades I and II) during sport participation. Intervention: A 4-week balance training program. One patient completed balance exercises using AVG, whereas the other patient completed traditional balance exercises. Main Outcome Measures: Several validated instruments were used to evaluate different functional outcomes and psychological factors: balance (Balance Error Scoring System, Star Excursion Balance Test), rehabilitation adherence (Rehabilitation Adherence Measure for Athletic Training), foot and ankle function (Foot and Ankle Ability Measure), perceptions of pain (Visual Analog Scale for pain), perceived readiness to return to sport (Injury-Psychological Readiness to Return to Sport Scale), and mood (Brunel Mood Scale). Results: It appears that the balance training protocols (AVG and traditional balance exercises) were equally effective in restoring patient’s balance to functional levels. Despite very individualistic processes of rehabilitation, the participants’ perceived pain, perceived readiness to return to sport, and mood states were closely linked with objective and subjective functional measures of progress. Conclusions: Based on the results, AVG has the potential to provide more versatility into the static and dynamic postural control exercises typically used following acute LAS. Moreover, the current results support the existing psychological and biopsychosocial theoretical conceptualizations of athletes’ responses to injuries and rehabilitation process.

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Noureddin Nakhostin Ansari, Parisa Alaei, Soofia Naghdi, Zahra Fakhari, Shiva Komesh and Jan Dommerholt

Context: There are numerous studies on the benefits of dry needling (DN) for pain relief. No studies exist examining the effects of DN on hamstring flexibility. Objective: To determine the immediate effects of DN on hamstring flexibility in healthy subjects with shortened hamstrings. Design: A single-blinded, pretest–posttest clinical pilot study. Setting: A university physiotherapy clinic. Subjects: A total of 15 healthy subjects (female = 11; age = 23.26 [4.3] y) with shortened hamstrings participated in this study. Intervention: Subjects received a single session of DN. Three locations on the hamstring muscle group were needled, each for 1 minute. Main Outcome Measures: The active knee extension test, muscle compliance, passive peak torque, and stretch tolerance were measured at baseline, immediately, and 15 minutes after DN. Results: There were statistically significant improvements in all outcome measures immediately after DN and at the 15-minute follow-up. The effect sizes for all outcome measures were large (Cohen’s d ≥ 0.8). No serious adverse events were observed with DN. Conclusions: This is the first study that demonstrates the beneficial effects of DN on hamstring flexibility, muscle compliance, and stretch tolerance without added stretching. The beneficial effects of DN should encourage clinicians to use DN as a novel strategy for increasing muscle flexibility.

Open access

Erik A. Wikstrom, Cole Mueller and Mary Spencer Cain

Context: Lateral ankle sprains (LAS) have one of the highest recurrence rates of all musculoskeletal injuries. An emphasis on rapid return to sport (RTS) following LAS likely increases reinjury risk. Unfortunately, no set of objective RTS criteria exist for LAS, forcing practitioners to rely on their own opinion of when a patient is ready to RTS. Purpose: To determine if there was consensus among published expert opinions that could help inform an initial set of RTS criteria for LAS that could be investigated in future research. Evidence Acquisition: PubMed, CINHL, and SPORTDiscus databases were searched from inception until October 2018 using a combination of keywords. Studies were included if they listed specific RTS criteria for LAS. No assessment of methodological quality was conducted because all included papers were expert opinion papers (level 5 evidence). Extracted data included the recommended domains (eg, range of motion, balance, sport-specific movement, etc) to be assessed, specific assessments for each listed domain, and thresholds (eg, 80% of the uninjured limb) to be used to determine RTS. Consensus and partial agreement were defined, a priori, as ≥75% and 50% to 75% agreement, respectively. Evidence Synthesis: Eight domains were identified within 11 included studies. Consensus was reached regarding the need to assess sport-specific movement (n = 9, 90.9%). Partial agreement was reached for the need to assess static balance (n = 7, 63.6%). The domains of pain and swelling, patient reported outcomes, range of motion, and strength were also partially agreed on (n = 6, 54.5%). No agreement was reached on specific assessments of cutoff thresholds. Conclusions: Given consensus and partial agreement results, RTS decisions following LAS should be based on sport-specific movement, static balance, patient reported outcomes, range of motion, and strength. Future research needs to determine assessments and cutoff thresholds within these domains to minimize recurrent LAS risk.

Open access

James A. Ashton-Miller and Ronald F. Zernicke