Clinical Scenario: Patellar tendinopathy is a common musculoskeletal disorder affecting the lower-extremities and a difficult condition to manage for athletes that are in season. To facilitate improvement in function and to decrease pain, initial treatment for patellar tendinopathy is typically conservative. Traditional interventions may include eccentric training, cryotherapy, patellar counterforce straps, oral anti-inflammatories, injectable agents, phonophoresis, iontophoresis, orthotics, therapeutic ultrasound, and extracorporeal shockwave. In addition, recent literature suggests that implementing isometric and isotonic contractions may be effective in reducing patellar tendon pain. Focused Clinical Question: How effective are isometric contractions compared with isotonic contractions in reducing pain for in-season athletes with patellar tendinopathy? Summary of Key Findings: Implementation of isometric and isotonic exercises statistically reduced pain levels in the short term of 4 weeks for in-season athletes; however, isometric contractions provided statistically greater pain relief immediately for up to 45 minutes postintervention compared with isotonic contractions. Clinical Bottom Line: Current evidence supports the use of isometric and isotonic contractions to reduce pain for in-season athletes with patellar tendinopathy. Based on the reviewed literature, clinicians should consider utilizing heavy loaded isometrics or progressive heavy loaded isotonic exercises, which showed reduction in pain levels immediately after intervention and at 4-week follow-up for both intervention groups. Isometric contractions appear to provide greater pain relief immediately after intervention. Strength of Recommendation: There is Grade B evidence from 2 level 2 randomized controlled trials and 1 level 3 randomized crossover study supporting the use of isometric and isotonic contractions to reduce patellar tendon pain for in-season athletes.
Behnam Gholami-Borujeni, Ali Yalfani, and Leila Ahmadnezhad
This study was conducted to evaluate the effects of 8-week inspiratory muscle training on activity in the ankle muscles of athletes with chronic low-back pain. A randomized controlled trial involving 45 men and women with chronic low-back pain was carried out. Electromyography activity in the tibialis anterior, peroneus longus, gastrocnemius medialis, and gastrocnemius lateralis muscles of the dominant leg was recorded. Secondary outcomes included biopsychosocial indices, such as pain, disability, anxiety and depression, fear-avoidance beliefs, and fear of (re)injury. Static and dynamic overhead squat tests showed that inspiratory muscle training decreased activity in the tibialis anterior, peroneus longus, and gastrocnemius medialis muscles. In the static single-leg squat test and the descending phase of the dynamic equivalent, such a decrease was observed in all the 4 muscles. Inspiratory muscle training significantly reduced pain severity and activity in the tibialis anterior, peroneus longus, and gastrocnemius medialis muscles during the ascending phase of the dynamic single-leg squat test. On the basis of the findings, 8 weeks of inspiratory muscle training may constitute useful rehabilitation for reducing excessive activity in ankle joint muscles and aiding chronic low-back pain recovery.
Connor A. Burton, Robert J. Arthur, Matthew J. Rivera, and Cameron J. Powden
Context: Chronic ankle instability (CAI) is one of the most common chronic conditions in the world, resulting in millions of dollars contributed to the health care system. Joint mobilizations have been shown to effectively improve patient and disease-specific impairments secondary to CAI. The ability for patients to complete an effective manual therapy intervention without the need for continuous visits to a health care provider can alleviate burdens on the health care system and improve patient satisfaction. Objective: To examine the effect of clinician-applied Maitland talocrural joint mobilization and self-mobilization (Self-Mob) on dorsiflexion range of motion (DFROM), dynamic balance, strength, and perceived function in those with CAI. Design: Single-blind randomized trial. Setting: Research laboratory. Participants: A total of 18 participants (7 males and 11 females; age = 20.78 [2.02] y, height = 67.66 [3.83] cm, limb length = 87.74 [5.05] cm) with self-reported CAI participated. Interventions: The participants received 6 interventions over a 2-week period. The participants received either Maitland grade III anterior-to-posterior talocrural joint mobilizations or weight-bearing lunge Self-Mob. Each intervention consisted of four 2-minute sets, with a 1-minute rest between sets. Main Outcome Measures: The DFROM (weight-bearing lunge), dynamic balance (Y-Balance Test), isometric strength, Foot and Ankle Ability Measure Quick, Disablement of the Physically Active modified, Fear Avoidance Beliefs Questionnaire, and Tampa Scale of Kinesiophobia-11 were measured preintervention and postintervention. Results: Dynamic balance, isometric strength, and perceived function significantly improved in both groups at postintervention. The DFROM significantly improved in the Self-Mob group. Higher individual responder rates were demonstrated within the Self-Mob group compared with clinician-applied mobilizations. Conclusions: Clinician-applied mobilizations and Self-Mobs are effective interventions for improving dynamic balance, isometric strength, and perceived function. Application of Self-Mobs can effectively improve DFROM compared with joint mobilization. Self-Mobs may be an effective intervention to incorporate into a home care plan.
Shogo Takano, Yoshitaka Iwamoto, Junya Ozawa, and Nobuhiro Kito
Context: Previous studies have reported that the incidence of patellofemoral pain in women is 2.2 times higher than that in men. Lower hip frontal dynamic joint stiffness in women may be related to the magnitude of hip adduction and internal rotation associated with patellofemoral pain. Objective: To identify sex differences in hip frontal dynamic joint stiffness and examine the relationship between hip frontal dynamic joint stiffness and hip adduction and internal rotation during gait. Design: Cross-sectional study. Setting: University campus. Participants: A total of 80 healthy volunteers (40 women and 40 men) participated in this study. Intervention(s): Kinematic and kinetic data during gait were collected using a motion capture system and force plates. Main Outcome Measures: Hip frontal dynamic joint stiffness, hip adduction, and hip internal rotation were calculated during gait. Results: Women demonstrated lower hip frontal dynamic joint stiffness than men during gait (P < .01). They also displayed decreased hip frontal dynamic joint stiffness associated with increased hip adduction (r = −.85, P < .001) and internal rotation (r = −.48, P < .001). Conversely, in men, decreased hip frontal dynamic joint stiffness was associated with increased hip adduction (r = −.74, P < .001) but not internal rotation (r = .17, P = .28). Conclusions: Sex differences between hip frontal dynamic joint stiffness and hip internal rotation during gait may contribute to the increased incidence of patellofemoral pain in women.
Richelle M. Williams, Rachel S. Johnson, Alison R. Snyder Valier, R. Curtis Bay, and Tamara C. Valovich McLeod
Context: Concussions are shown to hinder multiple health dimensions, including health-related quality of life (HRQOL), suggesting a need for a whole-person approach to assessment and treatment. Patient-reported outcome measures are one method to gather the patient’s perspective regarding their HRQOL. Objective: To evaluate perceived HRQOL using the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System Pediatric-25 subscale in patients throughout concussion recovery. Design: Prospective cohort, descriptive survey. Setting: There were 9 high school athletic training facilities. Participants: A total of 70 patients with diagnosed concussions (51 males, 7 females, 12 unreported; age = 15.7 [0.9] y, height = 174.6 [8.4] cm, mass = 72.8 [14.8] kg, grade = 10.0 [0.9] level). Interventions: Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System Pediatric-25 was administered at 3 days, 10 days postconcussion, and return to play (RTP). Main Outcome Measures: Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System Pediatric-25 subscale T scores and self-reported concussion history (yes/no). Results: A total of 70 patients completed the study. For the Pediatric-25 subscales, the severity of problems associated with Physical Function Mobility, Anxiety, Depression, Fatigue, and Pain Interference were highest 3 days postconcussion, decreasing at 10 days and RTP (all p < .05). No differences were found between days 3 and 10 for Peer Relationship scores, but improvements were identified at RTP (p < .05). Pediatric-25 subscale scores at the 3 measurements were not statistically associated with concussion history (all p > .05). Ceiling and floor effects were present in all subscales throughout each timepoint, except for Physical Function Mobility (14.7%), and pain interference (11.8%) at day 3 postinjury. Conclusions: Patients who had suffered a concussion improved from day 3 through RTP on multiple health domains as demonstrated through the Pediatric-25 subscales. These findings highlight the need for health care professionals to serially monitor HRQOL and social factors that may affect the patient postconcussion as part of a multifactorial assessment. Ceiling effects in high functioning adolescent athletes were present; thus, efforts should be made to identify appropriate scales for use in managing recovery in athletic populations.
Parisa Alaei, Noureddin Nakhostin Ansari, Soofia Naghdi, Zahra Fakhari, Shiva Komesh, and Jan Dommerholt
Context: Hamstring muscle tightness is one of the most common problems in athletic and healthy people. Dry needling (DN) was found to be an effective approach for improving muscle flexibility, but there is no study to compare this approach with static stretching (SS) as a common technique for the increase of muscle length. Objective: To compare the immediate effects of DN and SS on hamstring flexibility in healthy subjects with hamstring tightness. Study Design: A single-blind randomized controlled trial. Setting: A musculoskeletal physiotherapy clinic at Tehran University of Medical Sciences. Subjects: Forty healthy subjects (female: 32, age range: 18–40 y) with hamstring tightness were randomly assigned into 2 groups of DN and SS. Intervention: The DN group received a single session of DN on 3 points of the hamstring muscles, each for 1 minute. The SS group received a single session of SS of the hamstrings, consisting of 3 sets of 30-second SS with a 10-second rest between sets in the active knee extension test (AKET) position. Main Outcome Measures: The AKET, muscle compliance, passive peak torque, and stretch tolerance were measured at the baseline, immediately, and 15 minutes after the interventions. Results: Improvements in all outcomes was better for the DN group than for the SS group. DN increased muscle compliance significantly 15 minutes after the intervention, but it did not improve in the SS group. Conclusion: DN is effective in improving hamstring flexibility compared with SS. One session of DN can be an effective treatment for hamstring tightness and increase hamstring flexibility. The improvements suggest that DN is a novel treatment for hamstring flexibility.
Katherine L. Helly, Katherine A. Bain, Phillip A. Gribble, and Matthew C. Hoch
Clinical Scenario: Patients with chronic ankle instability (CAI) demonstrate deficits in both sensory and motor function, which can be objectively evaluated through static postural control testing. One intervention that has been suggested to improve somatosensation and, in turn, static postural control is plantar massage. Clinical Question: Does plantar massage improve static postural control during single-limb stance in patients with CAI relative to baseline? Summary of Key Findings: A search was performed for articles exploring the effect of plantar massage on static postural control in individuals with CAI. Three articles were included in this critically appraised topic including 1 randomized controlled trial and 2 crossover studies. All studies supported the use of plantar massage to improve static postural control in patients with CAI. Clinical Bottom Line: There is currently good-quality and consistent evidence that supports the use of plantar massage as an intervention that targets the somatosensory system to improve static postural control in patients with CAI. Future research should focus on incorporating plantar massage as a treatment intervention during long-term rehabilitation protocols for individuals with CAI. Strength of Recommendation: In agreement with the Center of Evidence-Based Medicine, the consistent results from 2 crossover studies and 1 randomized controlled trial designate that there is level B evidence due to consistent, moderate- to high-quality evidence.
Mackenzie Holman, Madeline P. Casanova, and Russell T. Baker
Context: Patient-reported outcomes are widely used in health care. The Disablement in the Physically Active (DPA) Scale Short Form-8 (SF-8) was recently proposed as a valid scale for the physically active population. However, further psychometric testing of the DPA SF-8 has not been completed, and scale structure has not been assessed using a sample of adolescent athletes. Objective: To assess scale structure of the DPA SF-8 in a sample of adolescent high-school athletes. Main Outcome Measure(s): Adolescent athletes (n = 289) completed the DPA SF-8. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was conducted to assess the psychometric properties of the scale. Results: The CFA of the DPA SF-8 indicated that the model exceeded recommended fit indices (Comparative Fit Index = .976, Tucker–Lewis Index = .965, Root Mean Square Error of Approximation = .061, and Bollen’s Incremental Fit Index = .976). All factor loadings were significant and ranged from .62 to .86. Modification indices did not suggest that meaningful cross-loadings were present or additional specifications that could further maximize fit or parsimony. Conclusions: The CFA of the DPA SF-8 met contemporary model fit recommendations in the adolescent athlete population. The results confirmed initial findings supporting the psychometric properties of the DPA SF-8 as well as the uniqueness of the quality-of-life and physical summary factors in an adolescent population. Further research (eg, reliability, invariance between groups, minimal clinically important differences, etc) is warranted to inform scale use in clinical practice and research.
Kate N. Jochimsen, Carl G. Mattacola, Brian Noehren, Kelsey J. Picha, Stephen T. Duncan, and Cale A. Jacobs
Context: Femoroacetabular impingement syndrome (FAIS) is a painfully debilitating hip condition disproportionately affecting active individuals. Mental health disorders are an important determinant of treatment outcomes for individuals with FAIS. Self-efficacy, kinesiophobia, and pain catastrophizing are psychosocial factors that have been linked to inferior outcomes for a variety of orthopedic conditions. However, these psychosocial factors and their relationships with mental health disorders, pain, and function have not been examined in individuals with FAIS. Objective: (1) To examine relationships between self-efficacy, kinesiophobia, pain catastrophizing, pain, and function in patients with FAIS and (2) to determine if these variables differ between patients with and without a self-reported depression and/or anxiety. Design: Cross-sectional. Setting: University health center. Participants: Fifty-one individuals with FAIS (42 females/9 males; age 35.7 [11.6] y; body mass index 27.1 [4.9] kg/m2). Main Outcome Measures: Participants completed the Pain Self-Efficacy Questionnaire, Tampa Scale for Kinesiophobia, Pain Catastrophizing Scale, visual analog scale for hip pain at rest and during activity, and the 12-item International Hip Outcome Tool. Self-reported depression and/or anxiety were recorded. The relationships between psychosocial factors, pain, and function were examined using Spearman rank-order correlations. Independent t tests and Mann–Whitney U tests were used to evaluate the effect of self-reported depression and/or anxiety on psychosocial factors, pain and function. Results: The 12-item International Hip Outcome Tool was correlated with pain during activity (ρ = −.57, P ≤ .001), Tampa Scale for Kinesiophobia (ρ = −.52, P ≤ .001), and Pain Self-Efficacy Questionnaire (ρ = .71, P ≤ .001). The Pain Self-Efficacy Questionnaire was also correlated with pain at rest (ρ = −.43, P = .002) and pain during activity (ρ = −.46, P = .001). Individuals with self-reported depression and/or anxiety (18/51; 35.3%) had worse self-efficacy and pain catastrophizing (P ≤ .01). Conclusion: Self-reported depression and/or anxiety, low self-efficacy, and high kinesiophobia were associated with more hip pain and worse function for patients with FAIS. These findings warrant further examination including psychosocial treatment strategies to improve the likelihood of a successful clinical outcome for this at-risk population.