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Jocelyn F. Hafer and Katherine A. Boyer

The link between age-related changes in muscle strength and gait is unclear. We tested if knee extensor functional demand differs by age and physical activity status and if functional demand increases with walking speed or after exercise. Gait and knee extensor muscle torque were collected from young adults and highly and less active older adults before and after treadmill walking. Functional demand was the ratio of knee moments during gait to knee extensor muscle torques estimated from participant-specific torque–velocity curves. Functional demand at the peak knee flexion moment was greater in less active older adults than young adults (29.3% [14.3%] vs 24.6% [12.1%]) and increased with walking speed (32.0% [13.9%] vs 22.8% [10.4%]). Functional demand at both knee extension moments increased ∼2% to 3% after exercise. The low functional demand found in this study suggests that healthy adults maintain a reserve of knee extensor strength.

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Mayrena I. Hernandez, Kevin M. Biese, Dan A. Schaefer, Eric G. Post, David R. Bell and M. Alison Brooks

Context: Sport specialization among youth athletes has been associated with increased risk of overuse injuries. Previous research demonstrates that children perceive specialization to be beneficial in making their high school team and receiving athletic college scholarships. Previous research demonstrates that parents play a significant role in their child’s sport experience. However, it is unknown if parents and children answer questions related to specialization factors in a similar manner. Objective: To evaluate the beliefs of youth athletes and parents on factors related to sport specialization and evaluate the level of agreement between dyads on sports specialization. Design: Cross-sectional. Setting: Online and paper surveys. Patients or Other Participants: Aim 1: 1998 participants (993 children and 1005 parents). Aim 2: 77 paired parent–child dyads. Interventions: Self-administered survey. Main Outcome Measures: The responses were summarized via frequency and proportions (%). Chi-squares were calculated between parent and child responses. Kappa coefficients were calculated for dyads to determine level of agreement. Sport specialization was classified using a common 3-point scale. Results: The parents were more concerned about risk of injury in sports compared with children (P < .001, χ2 = 231.4; parent: extremely: 7.1%; child: extremely: 3.7%). However, children were more likely to believe that specialization was associated with their chances of obtaining an athletic college scholarship compared with parents (P < .001, χ2 = 201.6; parent: very/extremely likely: 13.7%; child: very/extremely likely: 15.8%). Dyad subanalysis indicated a moderate level of agreement for “quitting other sports to focus on one sport” (κ = .50) and a low level of agreement for “identifying a primary sport” (κ = .30) and “training >8 months per year in primary sport” (κ = .32). Conclusions: Parents and youth athletes had differing beliefs on the factors related to sport specialization. Dyad analysis shows that parents and children answer sport specialization classification questions differently. Health care providers should be aware of these differences, and messaging should be individualized to the audience.

Open access

Theodore Kent Kessinger, Bridget Melton, Theresa Miyashita and Greg Ryan

Clinical Scenario: Manipulation of exercise variables in resistance training (RT) is an important component in the development of muscular strength, power, and hypertrophy. Currently, most research centers on untrained or recreationally trained subjects. This critically appraised topic focuses on studies that center on the well-trained subject with regard to frequency of training. Clinical Question: In well-trained male subjects, is there an association between RT frequency and the development of muscular strength and hypertrophy? Summary of Key Findings: Four studies met the inclusion criteria and were included for analysis. All studies showed that lower-frequency training could elicit muscular strength and hypertrophy increases. One study suggested that a higher frequency compared with a lower frequency may provide a slight benefit to hypertrophic development. One study reported a greater level of delayed onset muscle soreness with lower frequency training. The 4 studies demonstrate support for the clinical question. Clinical Bottom Line: Current evidence suggests that lower-frequency RT produces equal to greater improvements on muscular strength and hypertrophy in comparison to higher-frequency RT when volume is equated. The evidence is particularly convincing when lower-frequency RT is associated with a total-body training protocol in well-trained male subjects. Strength of Recommendation: There is moderate-to-strong evidence to suggest that lower-frequency RT, when volume is equated, will produce equal to greater improvements on muscular strength and hypertrophy in comparison to higher-frequency RT.

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Abbey Thomas and Jeffrey B. Driban

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Jennifer L. Rizzo

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.

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Nathaniel A. Bates, Nathan D. Schilaty, Ryo Ueno and Timothy E. Hewett

Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury videos estimate that rupture occurs within 50 milliseconds of initial contact, but are limited by imprecise timing and nondirect data acquisition. The objective of this study was to precisely quantify the timing associated with ligament strain during simulated landing and injury events. The hypotheses tested were that the timing of peak strain following initial contact would differ between ligaments and that peak strain timing would be independent of the injury-risk profile emulated during simulated landing. A mechanical impact simulator was used to perform landing simulations based on various injury-risk profiles that were applied to each specimen in a block-randomized order. The ACL and medial collateral ligament were instrumented with strain gauges that recorded continuously. The data from 35 lower-extremity specimens were included for analysis. Analysis of variance and Kruskal–Wallis tests were used to determine the differences between timing and profiles. The mean time to peak strain was 53 (24) milliseconds for the ACL and 58 (35) milliseconds for the medial collateral ligament. The time to peak ACL strain ranged from 48 to 61 milliseconds, but the timing differences were not significant between profiles. Strain timing was independent of injury-risk profile. Noncontact ACL injuries are expected to occur between 0 and 61 milliseconds after initial contact. Both ligaments reached peak strain within the same time frame.

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Rebecca L. Krupenevich and Ross H. Miller

The causes of age-related differences in lower-extremity joint moments and powers are unknown. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of highly physically active older adults walking with (1) a step length similar to young adults and (2) an upright trunk posture, on hip and ankle joint kinetics. The authors hypothesized that, compared with their self-selected walking mechanics, older adults would exhibit decreased hip kinetics and increased ankle kinetics when prescribed a young adult step length, and would exhibit decreased hip extension moments when maintaining an upright trunk posture during walking. A total of 12 active older adults (67 [5] y) and 13 active young adults (21 [3] y) walked at 1.3 m/s. The older adults also walked at 1.3 m/s with step lengths prescribed from height-matched young adults and, in a separate condition, walked with an upright trunk. The older adults did not display larger ankle kinetics or smaller hip kinetics in either condition compared to walking with a self-selected step length. These findings indicate that step length and trunk position do not primarily contribute to age-related differences in kinetics in highly active older adults and should serve as a starting point for investigating alternative explanations.

Open access

Justin L. Rush, Lindsey K. Lepley, Steven Davi and Adam S. Lepley

Context: Altered quadriceps activation is common following anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR), and can persist for years after surgery. These neural deficits are due, in part, to chronic central nervous system alterations. Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a noninvasive modality, that is, believed to immediately increase motor neuron activity by stimulating the primary motor cortex, making it a promising modality to use improve outcomes in the ACLR population. Objective: To determine if a single treatment of tDCS would result in increased quadriceps activity and decreased levels of self-reported pain and dysfunction during exercise. Design: Randomized crossover design. Setting: Controlled laboratory. Patients: Ten participants with a history of ACLR (5 males/5 females, 22.9 [4.23] y, 176.57 [12.01] cm, 80.87 [16.86] kg, 68.1 [39.37] mo since ACLR). Interventions: Active tDCS and Sham tDCS. Main Outcome Measures: Percentage of maximum electromyographic data of vastus medialis and lateralis, voluntary isometric strength, percentage of voluntary activation, and self-reported pain and symptom scores were measured. The 2 × 2 repeated-measures analysis of variance by limb were performed to explain the differences between time points (pre and post) and condition (tDCS and sham). Results: There was a significant time main effect for quadriceps percentage of maximum electromyographic of vastus medialis (F 9,1 = 11.931, P = .01) and vastus lateralis (F 9,1 = 9.132, P = .01), isometric strength (F 9,1 = 5.343, P = .046), and subjective scores for pain (F 9,1 = 15.499, P = .04) and symptoms (F 9,1 = 15.499, P = .04). Quadriceps percentage of maximum electromyographic, isometric strength, and voluntary activation showed an immediate decline from pre to post regardless of tDCS condition. Subjective scores improved slightly after each condition. Conclusions: One session of active tDCS did not have an immediate effect on quadriceps activity and subjective scores of pain and symptoms. To determine if tDCS is a valid modality for this patient population, a larger scale investigation with multiple treatments of active tDCS is warranted.

Open access

Walter Herzog