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Eugene Tee, Jack Melbourne, Larissa Sattler, and Wayne Hing

Context: Acute lateral ankle sprain (LAS) is a common injury in athletes and is often associated with decreased athletic performance and, if treated poorly, can result in chronic ankle issues, such as instability. Physical performance demands, such as cutting, hopping, and landing, involved with certain sport participation suggests that the rehabilitation needs of an athlete after LAS may differ from those of the general population. Objective: To review the literature to determine the most effective rehabilitation interventions reported for athletes returning to sport after acute LAS. Evidence Acquisition: Data Sources: Databases PubMed, Embase, CINAHL, SPORTDiscus, and PEDro were searched to July 2020. Study Selection: A scoping review protocol was developed and followed in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis Extension for Scoping Reviews guidelines and registered (https://osf.io/bgek3/). Study selection included published articles on rehabilitation for ankle sprain in an athletic population. Data Extraction: Parameters included athlete and sport type, age, sex, intervention investigated, outcome measures, measurement tool, and follow-up period. Data Synthesis: A qualitative synthesis for all articles was undertaken, and a quantitative subanalysis of randomized controlled trials and critical methodological appraisal was also conducted. Evidence Synthesis: A total of 37 articles were included in this review consisting of 5 systematic and 20 narrative reviews, 7 randomized controlled trials, a single-case series, case report, position statement, critically appraised topic, and descriptive study. Randomized controlled trial interventions included early dynamic training, electrotherapy, and hydrotherapy. Conclusions: Early dynamic training after acute LAS in athletes results in a shorter time to return to sport, increased functional performance, and decreased self-reported reinjury. The results of this scoping review support an early functional and dynamic rehabilitation approach when compared to passive interventions for athletes returning to sport after LAS. Despite existing research on rehabilitation of LAS in the general population, a lack of evidence exists related to athletes seeking to return to sport.

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Stephanie Wise and Jordan Bettleyon

Clinical Scenario: Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is the most common entrapment neuropathy of the upper-extremity. Due to the involvement of the median nerve, long-term compression of this nerve can lead to hand dysfunction and disability that can impact work and daily life. As such, early treatment is warranted to prevent any long-term damage to the median nerve. Conservative management is utilized in those with mild to moderate CTS. Neural mobilizations can aid in the reduction of neural edema, neural mobility, and neural adhesion while improving nerve conduction. Clinical Question: Is neurodynamics effective in reducing pain and reported symptoms in those with CTS? Summary of Key Findings: Four studies were included, with 2 studies utilizing passive neural mobilizations, one study using active techniques, and one study using active neural mobilizations with splinting. All studies showed large effect size for pain, symptom severity, and physical function. Clinical Bottom Line: Neurodynamics is an effective treatment for CTS. Splinting is only effective when combined with neurodynamics. Strength of Recommendation: Level B evidence to support the use of neurodynamics for the treatment of CTS.

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Ashley N. Marshall and Jennifer S. Howard

Open access

Shinji Yamaguchi, Yujiro Kawata, Yuka Murofushi, Nobuto Shibata, and Tsuneyoshi Ota

This study examined the stress coping strategies of athletes with high psychological vulnerability. The participants were 487 university athletes (mean age = 19.8 years, SD = 0.88, 153 women). Data were collected using the Vulnerability Scale for University Athletes and General Coping Questionnaire and analyzed by conducting a multivariate analysis of variance. The results showed significant relationships between vulnerability and coping strategies (r = .11−.39). Vulnerability was most strongly related to the emotional support seeking aspect of emotion-oriented coping (r = .39). There was no significant difference in cognitive reinterpretation (r = .07). Vulnerability had a stronger relationship with emotion-oriented than problem-oriented coping, and high (vs. low) vulnerability athletes had significantly higher emotion-oriented-coping scores. These results suggest that vulnerable athletes need to be provided with appropriate emotional support to cope with stressful situations, as they rely heavily on a stress management strategy focusing on emotion regulation.

Open access

Tatiana Tapajcikova, Dávid Líška, Ladislav Batalik, Clea P. Tucker, and Alena Kobesova

High-quality sensory perception and body scheme (somatognosis) are important aspects for sport performance. This study compares stereognosis, body scheme, and kinesthesia in a group of 36 competitive karate athletes against a control group of 32 general population participants. The stereognosis Petrie test, two body scheme tests, and three kinesthesia tests served as outcome measurement tools. No significant difference was found in the stereognosis Petrie test, for the dominant (p = .389) or the nondominant (p = .791) hand, nor in the kinesthesia test (dominant, p = .661 and nondominant, p = .051). Karate athletes performed significantly better in the body scheme tests, that is, fist width estimation (p = .024) and shoulder width estimation (p = .019), as well as in karate-specific kinesthesia tests, that is, single punch (p = .010) and triple punch (p = .001). This study confirms competitive karate athletes have significantly better somatognosis, and better accuracy when performing quick dynamic movements compared with the general population.

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Megan J. Schroeder, Samuel A. Acuña, Chandramouli Krishnan, and Yasin Y. Dhaher

Changes in knee mechanics following anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction are known to be magnified during more difficult locomotor tasks, such as when descending stairs. However, it is unclear if increased task difficulty could distinguish differences in forces generated by the muscles surrounding the knee. This study examined how knee muscle forces differ between individuals with ACL reconstruction with different graft types (hamstring tendon and patellar tendon autograft) and “healthy” controls when performing tasks with increasing difficulty. Dynamic simulations were used to identify knee muscle forces in 15 participants when walking overground and descending stairs. The analysis was restricted to the stance phase (foot contact through toe-off), yielding 162 separate simulations of locomotion in increasing difficulty: overground walking, step-to-floor stair descent, and step-to-step stair descent. Results indicated that knee muscle forces were significantly reduced after ACL reconstruction, and stair descent tasks better discriminated changes in the quadriceps and gastrocnemii muscle forces in the reconstructed knees. Changes in quadriceps forces after a patellar tendon graft and changes in gastrocnemii forces after a hamstring tendon graft were only revealed during stair descent. These results emphasize the importance of incorporating sufficiently difficult tasks to detect residual deficits in muscle forces after ACL reconstruction.

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Danica Janicijevic and Amador Garcia-Ramos

This systematic review aimed to synthesize the current evidence on the feasibility of volitional reaction time (RT) tests to evaluate the information processing abilities of athletes. Four databases were searched, and, finally, 38 studies exploring the reliability, validity, or sensitivity of RT tests were included. Seven studies explored the reliability, which ranged from poor to excellent, while only three studies explored the validity of RT tests. The most important downside of the majority of the implemented RT tests is their nonspecific nature (i.e., stimulus and response did not resemble the sports actions). Sports scientists should focus on developing RT tests that are specific for each sport and refine the testing procedures to obtain accurate, reproducible, and sensitive measurements of RT.

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Samuel E. Masters and John H. Challis

Soft tissue moves relative to the underlying bone during locomotion. Research has shown that soft tissue motion has an effect on aspects of the dynamics of running; however, little is known about the effects of soft tissue motion on the joint kinetics. In the present study, for a single subject, soft tissue motion was modeled using wobbling components in an inverse dynamics analysis to access the effects of the soft tissue on joint kinetics at the knee and hip. The added wobbling components had little effect on the knee joint kinetics, but large effects on the hip joint kinetics. In particular, the hip joint power and net negative and net positive mechanical work at the hip was greatly underestimated when calculated with the model without wobbling components compared with that of the model with wobbling components. For example, for low-frequency wobbling conditions, the magnitude of the peak hip joint moments were 50% greater when computed accounting the wobbling masses compared with a rigid body model, while for high-frequency wobbling conditions, the peaks were within 15%. The present study suggests that soft tissue motion should not be ignored during inverse dynamics analyses of running.

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Hamid Norasi, Jordyn Koenig, and Gary A. Mirka

The electromyographic (EMG) normalization (often to maximum voluntary isometric contraction [MVIC]) is used to control for interparticipant and day-to-day variations. Repeated MVIC exertions may be inadvisable from participants’ safety perspective. This study developed a technique to predict the MVIC EMG from submaximal isometric voluntary contraction EMG. On day 1, 10 participants executed moment exertions of 100%, 60%, 40%, and 20% of the maximum (biceps brachii, rectus femoris, neck flexors, and neck extensors) as the EMG data were collected. On day 2, the participants replicated the joint moment values from day 1 (60%, 40%, and 20%) and also performed MVIC exertions. Using the ratios between the MVIC EMGs and submaximal isometric voluntary contraction EMG data values established on day 1, and the day 2 submaximal isometric voluntary contraction EMG data values, the day 2 MVIC EMGs were predicted. The average absolute percentage error between the predicted and actual MVIC EMG values for day 2 were calculated: biceps brachii, 45%; rectus femoris, 27%; right and left neck flexors, 27% and 33%, respectively; and right and left neck extensors, both 29%. There will be a trade-off between the required accuracy of the MVIC EMG and the risk of injury due to exerting actual MVIC. Thus, using the developed predictive technique may depend on the study circumstances.