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Davoud Fazeli, HamidReza Taheri, and Alireza Saberi Kakhki

The simulation theory argues that physical execution, action observation, and imagery share similar underlying mechanisms. Accordingly, applying a high-level psychological variable (variability of practice) should have a similar effect on all three modes. To test this theory, a total of 90 right-handed students participated in this study and were randomly divided into variable versus constant groups in three practice conditions, including physical, observational, and imagery. After a pretest (10 random trials of the putting task), the participants completed 50 practice trials. The groups performed/observed/imagined the task in the variable (different distances to different goals) or constant (fixed distance and goal) practice conditions. Also, there was an extra variable group in the physical and observational conditions, deprived of watching the feedback from the action. The participants completed a retention test 24 hr after the training. The effect of practice variability was observed in physical and observational conditions, but was not seen in the imagery condition. The no-feedback groups did not perform significantly differently from the imagery groups. The reason could be the lack of actual visual feedback during imagery.

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Maëlle Tixier, Corinne Cian, Pierre-Alain Barraud, Rafael Laboissiere, and Stéphane Rousset

The aim of this experiment was to investigate the postural response to specific types of long-term memory (episodic vs. semantic) in young adults performing an unperturbed upright stance. Although a similar level of steadiness (mean distance) was observed, dual tasking induced a higher velocity, more energy in the higher frequency range (power spectral density), and less regularity (sample entropy) compared with a simple postural task. Moreover, mean velocity was always greater in the semantic than in the episodic task. The differences in postural control during dual tasking may result from the types of processes involved in the memory task. Findings suggest a spatial process sharing between posture and episodic memory.

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Hannah L. Stedge and Kirk Armstrong

Clinical Scenario: Endurance sports require a great deal of physical training to perform well. Endurance training and racing stress the skeletal muscle, resulting in exercise-induced muscle damage (EIMD). Athletes attempt to aid their recovery in various ways, one of which is through compression. Dynamic compression consists of intermittent pneumatic compression (IPC) devices, such as the NormaTec Recovery System and Recovery Pump. Clinical Question: What are the effects of IPC on the reduction of EIMD in endurance athletes following prolonged exercise? Summary of Key Findings: The current literature was searched to identify the effects of IPC, and 3 studies were selected: 2 randomized controlled trials and 1 randomized cross-over study. Two studies investigated the effect of IPC on delayed onset muscle soreness and plasma creatine kinase in ultramarathoners. The other looked at the impact of IPC on delayed onset muscle soreness in marathoners, ultramarathoners, triathletes, and cyclists. All studies concluded IPC was not an effective means of improving the reduction of EIMD in endurance-trained athletes. Clinical Bottom Line: While IPC may provide short-term relief of delayed onset muscle soreness, this device does not provide continued relief from EIMD. Strength of Recommendation: In accordance with the Strength of Recommendation Taxonomy, the grade of B is recommended based on consistent evidence from 2 high-quality randomized controlled trials and 1 randomized cross-over study.

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Emily L. Messerschmidt, Eric E. Hall, Caroline J. Ketcham, Kirtida Patel, and Srikant Vallabhajosula

Context: Though previous research has focused on examining the effects of concussion history using a dual-task paradigm, the influence of factors like symptoms (unrelated to concussion), gender, and type of sport on gait in college athletes is unknown. Objective: To examine the effect of concussion history, symptoms, gender, and type of sport (noncontact/limited contact/contact) individually on gait among college athletes. Design: Exploratory cross-sectional study. Setting: Laboratory. Participants: In total, 98 varsity athletes (age, 18.3 [1.0] y; height, 1.79 [0.11] m; mass, 77.5 [19.2] kg; 27 with concussion history, 58 reported at least one symptom, 44 females; 8 played noncontact sports and 71 played contact sports) walked under single- and dual-task (walking while counting backward by 7) conditions. Interventions: Not applicable. Main Outcome Measures: Dual-task cost (DTC; % difference between single task and dual task) of gait speed, cadence, step length and width, percentage of swing and double-support phases, symptom score, and total symptom severity score. Independent samples t tests and 1-way analysis of variance were conducted (α value = .05). Results: Self-reported concussion history resulted in no significant differences (P > .05). Those who reported symptoms at testing time showed significantly greater DTC of step length (mean difference [MD], 2.7%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.3% to 5.1%; P = .012), % of swing phase (MD, 1.0%; 95% CI, −0.2 to 2.1%; P = .042), and % of double-support phase (MD, 3.9%; 95% CI, 0.2% to 7.8%; P = .019). Females demonstrated significantly higher DTC of gait speed (MD, 5.3%; 95% CI, 1.3% to 9.3%; P = .005), cadence (MD, 4.0%; 95% CI, 1.4% to 6.5%; P = .002), % of swing phase (MD, 1.2%; 95% CI, 0.1% to 2.3%; P = .019), and % of double-support phase (MD, 4.1%; 95% CI, 0.4% to 7.9%; P = .018). Noncontact sports athletes had significantly greater step width DTC than contact sports athletes (MD, 14.2%; 95% CI, 0.9% to 27.6%; P = .032). Conclusions: Reporting symptoms at testing time may influence gait under dual-task conditions. Additionally, female athletes showed more gait changes during a dual task. Sports medicine professionals should be aware that these variables, while unrelated to injury, may affect an athlete’s gait upon analysis.

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Damien Murphy, Quinette A. Louw, Colum Moloney, Dominique Leibbrandt, and Amanda M. Clifford

Purpose: Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries are among the most severe injuries in the Gaelic Athletic Association. Hop tests measure functional performance after ACL reconstruction as they replicate the key requirements for a match situation. However, research examining functional recovery of ACL-reconstructed Gaelic athletes is lacking. The objective of this study is to determine if athletes restore normal hop symmetry after ACL reconstruction and to examine if bilateral deficiencies persist in hop performance following return to sport. Methods: A cross-sectional design was used to evaluate hop performance of 30 ACL-reconstructed Gaelic athletes who had returned to competition and 30 uninjured controls in a battery of hop tests including a single, 6-m, triple, and triple-crossover hop test. Results: In each test, the mean symmetry score of the ACL reconstruction group was above the cutoff for normal performance of 90% adopted by this study (98%, 99%, 97%, and 99% for the single, 6-m, triple, and triple-crossover hop, respectively). No significant differences in absolute hop scores emerged between involved and control limbs, with the exception of the single-hop test where healthy dominant limbs hopped significantly further than ACL-reconstructed dominant limbs (P = .02). No significant deficits were identified on the noninvolved side. Conclusions: The majority of ACL-reconstructed Gaelic athletes demonstrate normal levels of hop symmetry after returning to competition. Suboptimal hop performance can persist on the involved side compared with control limbs. Targeted rehabilitation may be warranted after returning to competition to restore performance to levels of healthy uninjured athletes.

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Enda Whyte, Tiarnán Ó Doinn, Miriam Downey, and Siobhán O’Connor

Context: Deficits in the hip range of motion are associated with hip and groin injuries. Accurate and reliable goniometric measurements are important in identifying those at risk of injury and determining the efficacy of treatment interventions. Smartphone goniometric applications are regularly used to assess joint ranges of motion; however, there is limited knowledge on the reliability of this method in relation to the hip, particularly between clinicians with different levels of experience. Objective: To determine the intratester and intertester reliability of a smartphone clinometer application for the assessment of hip goniometric measurements in healthy volunteers by an experienced and novice clinician. Design: Reliability study. Setting: University Athletic Therapy facility. Participants: Physically active, university students. Main Outcome Measures: The study determined the intra- and intertester (experienced vs novice clinician) reliability of goniometric measurements of the hip joint (modified Thomas test and seated hip internal and external rotation) using a smartphone goniometric application. Intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs), standard error of measurement, and minimal detectable change at a 95% confidence interval were used to assess reliability. Results: Goniometric measurements demonstrated good to excellent relative intratester reliability for the modified Thomas test (ICC = .94), external rotation (ICC = .93–.95), and internal rotation (ICC = .80–.81). Intertester reliability for expert and novice clinicians was also excellent for the modified Thomas test (ICC = .98), external rotation (ICC = .95), and internal rotation (ICC = .92). Intratester and intertester standard error of measurement and minimal detectable change at 95% confidence interval values were similar for both testers and ranged from 1.9° to 3.6° and 5° to 10.1° and from 1.1° to 2.3° and 2.9° to 6.5°, respectively. Conclusion: Smartphone-based goniometric measurements of hip range of motion have high intratester and intertester reliability for novice and expert clinicians. It may be a useful, simple, and inexpensive resource for clinicians.

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Keramat Ullah Keramat and Mohammad Naveed Babar

Context: Serratus anterior tightness is associated with scapular dyskinesis and overall shoulder dysfunction, which affects the range of motion. The most effective intervention to stretch the serratus anterior is unknown. Objective: To evaluate the effect of a therapist-administered novel serratus anterior stretch (SAS) on shoulder range of motion. Method: This study recruited 30 healthy subjects of age 21.20 (1.69) years, height 1.65 (0.11) m, and weight 60.90 (10.36) kg in equal ratio of males and females who scored 1 or 2 on the shoulder mobility test of functional movement screening. A single intervention of a novel SAS was applied to the shoulder. Outcome variables before and after the SAS included the following: shoulder ROM (flexion, abduction, internal rotation, and external rotation) and functional movements of reaching up behind the back and reaching down behind the neck. Results: A paired t test was used to analyze the data. Following the acute SAS intervention, all shoulder ROM improved significantly (P < .000). The change in internal rotation was 6.00° (7.47°), external rotation was 5.66° (9.35°), abduction was 13.50° (11.82°), flexion was 20° (13.33°), reaching up behind the back was 5.10 (2.21) cm, and reaching down behind the neck was 5.41 (2.89) cm. The most marked improvement was in reaching up behind the back (24.48%) and reaching down behind the neck (22.78%). A very large effect size (>1) was observed across most of the variables. Conclusion: An acute SAS intervention improves shoulder mobility in healthy individuals. It is recommended for the trial on the prevention and rehabilitation of shoulder pathologies with restriction in shoulder mobility.

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Gary B. Wilkerson, Dustin C. Nabhan, and Ryan T. Crane

Context: Sport-related concussion (SRC) elevates risk for subsequent injury, which may relate to impaired perceptual-motor processes that are potentially modifiable. Objective: To assess a possible upper-extremity (UE) training effect on whole-body (WB) reactive agility performance among elite athletes with history of SRC (HxSRC) and without such history of SRC. Design: Cohort study. Setting: Residential training center. Participants: Elite athletes (12 males and 8 females), including 10 HxSRC and 10 without such history of SRC. Intervention: One-minute training sessions completed 2 to 3 times per week over a 3-week period involved verbal identification of center arrow direction for 10 incongruent and 10 congruent flanker test trials with simultaneous reaching responses to deactivate illuminated buttons. Main Outcome Measures: Pretraining and posttraining assessments of UE and WB reactive responses included flanker test conflict effect (incongruent minus congruent reaction time) and WB lateral average asymmetry derived from reaction time, speed, acceleration, and deceleration in opposite directions. Discrimination was assessed by receiver operating characteristic analysis, and training effect was assessed by repeated-measures analysis of variance. Results: Pretraining discrimination between HxSRC and without such history of SRC was greatest for conflict effect ≥80 milliseconds and WB lateral average asymmetry ≥18%. Each athlete completed 6 training sessions, which improved UE mean reaction time from 767 to 646 milliseconds (P < .001) and reduced mean conflict effect from 96 to 53 milliseconds (P = .039). A significant group × trial interaction was evident for WB lateral average asymmetry (P = .004), which was reduced from 24.3% to 12.5% among those with HxSRC. Conclusions: Suboptimal perceptual-motor performance may represent a subtle long-term effect of concussion that is modifiable through UE training, which appears to improve WB reactive capabilities.