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Bin Chen, Lifen Liu, Lincoln Bin Chen, Xianxin Cao, Peng Han, Chenhao Wang, and Qi Qi

Context: Measuring isometric shoulder rotational strength is clinically important for evaluating motor disability in athletes with shoulder injuries. Recent evidence suggests that handheld dynamometry may provide a low-cost and portable method for the clinical assessment of isometric shoulder strength. Objective: To investigate the concurrent validity and the intrarater and interrater reliability of handheld dynamometry for measuring isometric shoulder rotational strength. Design: Cross-sectional study. Setting: Biomechanics laboratory. Participants: Thirty-nine young, healthy participants. Main Outcome Measures: The peak isometric strength of the internal rotators and external rotators, measured by handheld dynamometry (in newton) and isokinetic dynamometry (in newton meter). Interventions: Maximal isometric shoulder rotational strength was measured as participants lay supine with 90° shoulder abduction, neutral rotation, 90° elbow flexion, and forearm pronation. Measurements were performed independently by 2 different physiotherapists and in 3 different sessions to evaluate interrater and intrarater reliability. The data obtained by handheld dynamometry were compared with those obtained by isokinetic testing to evaluate concurrent validity. Results: The intraclass correlation coefficients for interrater reliability in measuring maximum isometric shoulder external and internal rotation strength were .914 (95% confidence interval [CI], .842–.954) and .842 (95% CI, .720–.914), respectively. The intrarater reliability values of the method for measuring maximal shoulder external and internal rotation strength were 0.865 (95% CI, 0.757–0.927) and 0.901 (95% CI, 0.820–0.947), respectively. The Pearson correlation coefficients between the handheld and isokinetic dynamometer measurements were .792 (95% CI, .575–.905) for external rotation strength and .664 (95% CI, .419–.839) for internal rotation strength. Conclusions: The handheld dynamometer showed good to excellent reliability and moderate to good validity in measuring maximum isometric shoulder rotational strength. Therefore, handheld dynamometry could be acceptable for health and sports professionals in field situations to evaluate maximum isometric shoulder rotational strength.

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Noh Zulfikri, Victor S. Selvanayagam, and Ashril Yusof

Context: Badminton continues to be a highly competitive sport where training is introduced at an early age and load has intensified. This exposes players to a greater risk of injuries, in particular when assessing related training outcomes such as strength, agonist–antagonist ratio, and bilateral deficit among adolescents where age- and sex-associated growth and development should be considered. Objective: To evaluate strength profile of the upper and lower limbs among adolescent elite Malaysian badminton players. Design: Cross-sectional study. Setting: Laboratory. Participants: Forty-eight asymptomatic athletes (24 males and 24 females) were grouped into early and late adolescence (13–14 y old and 15–17 y old, respectively). Main Outcome Measure(s): Strength (absolute and normalized) of the external/internal rotators of the shoulder and flexor/extensor of the knee and strength derivatives, conventional strength ratio (CSR), dynamic control ratio (DCR), and bilateral deficits were measured. Results: Males showed greater strength in all strength indices (P < .05). The older group had greater strength compared to younger for most of the upper and lower limb indices (P < .05); these effects diminished when using normalized data. For females, there was no age group effect in the shoulder and knee strength. All players displayed lower shoulder and knee normative values for CSR and DCR. Dominant and non-dominant knee strength were comparable between sex and age groups. Conclusions: For males, growth and maturation had a greater contribution to strength gained compared to training, whereas for females, growth, maturation, and training did not improve strength. The normalized data indicated that training did not improve all indices measured apart from external rotator strength in females. All players also displayed lower normative values of CSR and DCR. These results suggest that training in elite adolescent Malaysian badminton players lacks consideration of strength gain and injury risk factors.

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Akira Saito, Kyoji Okada, Hiromichi Sato, Kazuyuki Shibata, and Tetsuaki Kamata

Context: Baseball pitching is a coordinated movement involving the spine. A previous study indicated that increased thoracic kyphosis angle in a standing position was a risk factor for medial elbow injuries in youth baseball players. However, spinal alignments in single-leg standing and their relationships with medial elbow injuries, scapular alignment, or hip joint range of motion are unclear. Objective: To examine the difference in spinal alignment between standing and single-leg standing positions in youth baseball players and analyze their relationship with elbow injuries, scapular alignment, or hip joint range of motion. Design: Cross-sectional study. Setting: University laboratory. Participants: There were 51 youth baseball players with medial epicondylar fragmentation (medial elbow injury group) and 102 healthy youth baseball players (control group). Main Outcome Measures: Thoracic kyphosis, lumbar lordosis, and trunk inclination angles during standing and single-leg standing, forward scapular posture, and hip joint range of motion. Results: In the single-leg standing position, the thoracic kyphosis and backward trunk inclination angles were significantly higher in the medial elbow injury group than in the control group (P = .016 and P = .046, respectively). In the standing position, no significant difference was observed between both groups. The thoracic kyphosis angle in single-leg standing was positively correlated with the bilateral forward scapular posture in the medial elbow injury (P = .008 and P < .001 on the throwing and nonthrowing sides, respectively) and control (P = .010 and P = .032 on the throwing and nonthrowing sides, respectively) groups. Conclusions: High thoracic kyphosis and backward trunk inclination angles are characteristics during single-leg standing in youth baseball players with medial elbow injuries. Spinal alignment measurement in single-leg standing may be useful for identifying youth baseball players who are at risk for sustaining medial elbow injury.

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Courtney M. Butowicz, Julian C. Acasio, and Brad D. Hendershot

Altered trunk movements during gait in persons with lower-limb amputation are often associated with an increased risk for secondary health conditions; however, the postural control strategies underlying such alterations remain unclear. In this secondary analysis, the authors employed nonlinear measures of triplanar trunk accelerations via short-term Lyapunov exponents to investigate trunk local stability as well as spatiotemporal gait parameters to describe gait mechanics. The authors also evaluated the influence of a concurrent task on trunk local stability and gait mechanics to explore if competition for neuromuscular processing resources can assist in identifying unique strategies to control kinematic variability. Sixteen males with amputation—8 transtibial and 8 transfemoral—and 8 uninjured males (controls) walked on a treadmill at their self-selected speed (mean = 1.2 m/s ±10%) in 5 experimental conditions (8 min each): 4 while performing a concurrent task (2 walking and 2 seated) and 1 with no concurrent task. Individuals with amputation demonstrated significantly smaller Lyapunov exponents than controls in all 3 planes of motion, regardless of concurrent task or level of amputation (P < .0001). Individuals with transfemoral amputation walked with wider strides compared with individuals with transtibial amputation and controls (P < .0001). Individuals with amputation demonstrated more trunk kinematic variability in the presence of wider strides compared with individuals without amputation, and it appears that performing a concurrent cognitive task while walking did not change trunk or gait mechanics.

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Yumeng Li, Jupil Ko, Marika A. Walker, Cathleen N. Brown, and Kathy J. Simpson

The purpose of the present study was to examine the effect of chronic ankle instability (CAI) on lower-extremity joint coordination and stiffness during landing. A total of 21 female participants with CAI and 21 pair-matched healthy controls participated in the study. Lower-extremity joint kinematics were collected using a 7-camera motion capture system, and ground reaction forces were collected using 2 force plates during drop landings. Coupling angles were computed based on the vector coding method to assess joint coordination. Coupling angles were compared between the CAI and control groups using circular Watson–Williams tests. Joint stiffness was compared between the groups using independent t tests. Participants with CAI exhibited strategies involving altered joint coordination including a knee flexion dominant pattern during 30% and 70% of their landing phase and a more in-phase motion pattern between the knee and hip joints during 30% and 40% and 90% and 100% of the landing phase. In addition, increased ankle inversion and knee flexion stiffness were observed in the CAI group. These altered joint coordination and stiffness could be considered as a protective strategy utilized to effectively absorb energy, stabilize the body and ankle, and prevent excessive ankle inversion. However, this strategy could result in greater mechanical demands on the knee joint.

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Matthew S. Briggs, Claire Spech, Rachel King, Mike McNally, Matthew Paponetti, Sharon Bout-Tabaku, and Laura Schmitt

Obese (OB) youth demonstrate altered knee mechanics and worse lower-extremity performance compared with healthy weight (HW) youth. Our objectives were to compare sagittal plane knee landing mechanics between OB and HW youth and to examine the associations of knee and hip extension peak torque with landing mechanics in OB youth. Twenty-four OB and 24 age- and sex-matched HW youth participated. Peak torque was measured and normalized to leg lean mass. Peak knee flexion angle and peak internal knee extension moment were measured during a single-leg hop landing. Paired t tests, Pearson correlation coefficients, and Bonferroni corrections were used. OB youth demonstrated worse performance and lower knee extension (OB: 12.76 [1.38], HW: 14.03 [2.08], P = .03) and hip extension (OB: 8.59 [3.13], HW: 11.10 [2.89], P = .005) peak torque. Furthermore, OB youth demonstrated lower peak knee flexion angles (OB: 48.89 [45.41 to 52.37], HW: 56.07 [52.59 to 59.55], P = .02) and knee extension moments (OB: −1.73 [−1.89 to −1.57], HW: −2.21 [−2.37 to −2.05], P = .0001) during landing compared with HW youth. Peak torque measures were not correlated with peak knee flexion angle nor internal knee extension moment during landing in either group (P > .01). OB youth demonstrated altered landing mechanics compared with HW youth. However, no associations among peak torque measurements and knee landing mechanics were present.

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Jereme B. Outerleys, Michael J. Dunbar, Glen Richardson, Cheryl L. Hubley-Kozey, and Janie L. Astephen Wilson

Total knee arthroplasty (TKA) surgery improves knee joint kinematics and kinetics during gait for most patients, but a lack of evidence exists for the level and incidence of improvement that is achieved. The objective of this study was to quantify patient-specific improvements in knee biomechanics relative to osteoarthritis (OA) severity levels. Seventy-two patients underwent 3-dimensional (3D) gait analysis before and 1 year after TKA surgery, as well as 72 asymptomatic adults and 72 with moderate knee OA. A combination of principal component analysis and discriminant analyses were used to categorize knee joint biomechanics for patients before and after surgery relative to asymptomatic, moderate, and severe OA. Post-TKA, 63% were categorized with knee biomechanics consistent with moderate OA, 29% with severe OA, and 8% asymptomatic. The magnitude and pattern of the knee adduction moment and angle (frontal plane features) were the most significant contributors in discriminating between pre-TKA and post-TKA knee biomechanics. Standard of care TKA improves knee biomechanics during gait to levels most consistent with moderate knee OA and predominately targets frontal plane features. These results provide evidence for the level of improvement in knee biomechanics that can be expected following surgery and highlight the biomechanics most targeted by surgery.

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

Context: Traditionally, quadriceps activation failure after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR) is estimated using discrete isometric torque values, providing only a snapshot of neuromuscular function. Sample entropy (SampEn) is a mathematical technique that can measure neurologic complexity during the entirety of contraction, elucidating qualities of neuromuscular control not previously captured. Objective: To apply SampEn analyses to quadriceps electromyographic activity in order to more comprehensively characterize neuromuscular deficits after ACLR. Design: Cross-sectional. Setting: Laboratory. Participants: ACLR: n = 18; controls: n = 24. Interventions: All participants underwent synchronized unilateral quadriceps isometric strength, activation, and electromyography testing during a superimposed electrical stimulus. Main Outcome Measures: Group differences in strength, activation, and SampEn were evaluated with t tests. Associations between SampEn and quadriceps function were evaluated with Pearson product–moment correlations and hierarchical linear regressions. Results: Vastus medialis SampEn was significantly reduced after ACLR compared with controls (P = .032). Vastus medialis and vastus lateralis SampEn predicted significant variance in activation after ACLR (r 2 = .444; P = .003). Conclusions: Loss of neurologic complexity correlates with worse activation after ACLR, particularly in the vastus medialis. Electromyographic SampEn is capable of detecting underlying patterns of variability that are associated with the loss of complexity between key neurophysiologic events after ACLR.

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Joseph M. Day, Ann M. Lucado, R. Barry Dale, Harold Merriman, Craig D. Marker, and Tim L. Uhl

Context: There is a lack of consensus on the best management approach for lateral elbow tendinopathy (LET). Recently, scapular stabilizer strength impairments have been found in individuals with LET. Objective: The purpose of this study was to compare the effectiveness of local therapy (LT) treatment to LT treatment plus a scapular muscle-strengthening (LT + SMS) program in patients diagnosed with LET. Design: Prospective randomized clinical trial. Setting: Multisite outpatient physical therapy. Patients: Thirty-two individuals with LET who met the criteria were randomized to LT or LT + SMS. Interventions: Both groups received education, a nonarticulating forearm orthosis, therapeutic exercise, manual therapy, and thermal modalities as needed. Additionally, the LT + SMS group received SMS exercises. Main Outcome Measure: The primary outcome measure was the patient-rated tennis elbow evaluation; secondary outcomes included global rating of change (GROC), grip strength, and periscapular muscle strength. Outcomes were reassessed at discharge, 6, and 12 months from discharge. Linear mixed-effect models were used to analyze the differences between groups over time for each outcome measure. Results: The average duration of symptoms was 10.2 (16.1) months, and the average total number of visits was 8.0 (2.2) for both groups. There were no significant differences in gender, age, average visits, weight, or height between groups at baseline (P > .05). No statistical between-group differences were found for any of the outcome measures. There were significant within-group improvements in all outcome measures from baseline to all follow-up points (P < .05). Conclusion: The results of this pilot study suggest that both treatment approaches were equally effective in reducing pain, improving function, and increasing grip strength at discharge as well as the 6- and 12-month follow-ups. Our multimodal treatment programs were effective at reducing pain and improving function up to 1 year after treatment in a general population of individuals with LET.

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Samantha M. Ross, Ellen Smit, Joonkoo Yun, Kathleen R. Bogart, Bridget E. Hatfield, and Samuel W. Logan

A secondary data analysis of 33,093 children and adolescents age 6–17 years (12% with disabilities) from a 2016–2017 National Survey of Children’s Health nonrepresentative sample aimed to identify (a) unique clusters of sociodemographic characteristics and (b) the relative importance of disability status in predicting participation in daily physical activity (PA) and sports. Exploratory classification tree analyses identified hierarchical predictors of daily PA and sport participation separately. Disability status was not a primary predictor of daily PA. Instead, it emerged in the fifth level after age, sex, body mass index, and income, highlighting the dynamic intersection of disability with sociodemographic factors influencing PA levels. In comparison, disability status was a second-level predictor for sport participation, suggesting that unique factors influencing PA level are likely experienced by disabled children and adolescents. The authors employ an intersectionality lens to critically discuss implications for research in adapted PA.