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Daniel G. Miner, Brent A. Harper and Stephen M. Glass

Context: Current tools for sideline assessment of balance following a concussion may not be sufficiently sensitive to identify impairments, which may place athletes at risk for future injury. Quantitative field-expedient balance assessments are becoming increasingly accessible in sports medicine and may improve sensitivity to enable clinicians to more readily detect these subtle deficits. Objective: To determine the validity of the postural sway assessment on the Biodex BioSway™ compared with the gold standard NeuroCom Smart Equitest System. Design: Cross-sectional cohort study. Setting: Clinical research laboratory. Participants: Forty-nine healthy adults (29 females: 24.34 [2.45] y, height 163.65 [7.57] cm, mass 63.64 [7.94] kg; 20 males: 26.00 [3.70] y, height 180.11 [7.16] cm, mass 82.97 [12.78] kg). Intervention(s): The participants completed the modified clinical test of sensory interaction in balance on the Biodex BioSway™ with 2 additional conditions (head shake and firm surface; head shake and foam surface) and the Sensory Organization Test and Head Shake Sensory Organization Test on the NeuroCom Smart Equitest. Main Outcome Measures: Interclass correlation coefficient and Bland–Altman limits of agreement for Sway Index, equilibrium ratio, and area of 95% confidence ellipse. Results: Fair–good reliability (interclass correlation coefficient = .48–.65) was demonstrated for the stance conditions with eyes open on a firm surface. The Head Shake Sensory Interaction and Balance Test condition on a firm surface resulted in fair reliability (interclass correlation coefficient = .50–.59). The authors observed large ranges for limits of agreement across outcome measures, indicating that the systems should not be used interchangeably. Conclusions: The authors observed fair reliability between BioSway™ and NeuroCom, with better agreement between systems with the assessment of postural sway on firm/static surfaces. However, the agreement of these systems may improve by incorporating methods that mitigate the floor effect in an athletic population (eg, including a head shake condition). BioSway™ may provide a surrogate field-expedient measurement tool.

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Ghada Jouira, Selim Srihi, Fatma Ben Waer, Haithem Rebai and Sonia Sahli

Context: Athletes with intellectual disability (ID) have a high risk of injury while participating in various sports. Warm-up (WU) is the most preventive measure to reduce injuries in sports. Objective: To investigate the effects of dynamic stretching WU (DS-WU) and plyometric WU (PL-WU) on dynamic balance in athletes with ID. Design: Crossover study. Setting: Research laboratory. Participants: A total of 12 athletes with ID (age 24.5 [3.22] y, height 165.7 [8.4] cm, weight 61.5 [7.1] kg, intelligence quotient 61.1 [3.5]). Main Outcome Measures: Dynamic balance was assessed using the Star Excursion Balance Test (SEBT) at pre-WU, post-WU, and 15 minutes post-WU for both the DS-WU and the PL-WU. A 2-way analysis of variance (3 sessions × 2 WU methods) with repeated-measures was used in this study. Results: Following the DS-WU, participants demonstrated significant improvements in the SEBT composite score post-WU (89.12% [5.54%] vs 87.04% [5.35%]; P < .01) and at 15 minutes post-WU (89.55% [5.28%] vs 87.04%, P < .01) compared with pre-WU. However, no significant difference between these two post-WU scores (post-WU and 15 min post-WU) was found. For the PL-WU, participants demonstrated a significant decrease in the SEBT composite score at post-WU (85.95% [5.49%] vs 87.02% [5.73%]; P < .05); however, these scores increased significantly at 15 minutes post-WU (88.60% [5.42%] vs 87.02% [5.49%]; P < .05) compared with that at pre-WU. The SEBT composite scores are significantly higher in the DS-WU than in the PL-WU at both post-WU sessions (P < .05). Conclusion: Both DS-WU and PL-WU could improve dynamic balance and may be recommended as WUs in athletes with ID; however, particular caution should be exercised immediately after the PL-WU.

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Kyle Matsel, Claire Davies and Tim Uhl

Clinical Scenario: Shoulder pain is a very common symptom encountered in outpatient physical therapy practice. In addition to therapeutic exercise and manual therapy interventions, trigger point dry needling (TDN) has emerged as a possible treatment option for reducing shoulder pain and improving function. Dry needling consists of inserting a thin stainless-steel filament into a myofascial trigger point with the intention of eliciting a local twitch response of the muscle. It is theorized that this twitch response results in reduced muscle tension and can aid in reduced pain and disability. To this point, multiple studies have found TDN to be effective at reducing pain and improving function in the short-term, but the long-term outcomes remain unknown. Clinical Question: Does the addition of TDN to an exercise program result in better long-term pain intensity and disability reduction in patients with shoulder pain? Summary of Findings: Improvement in long-term pain and function can be expected regardless of the addition of TDN to an evidence-based exercise program for patients with shoulder pain. Clinical Bottom Line: Either TDN or an evidence-based therapeutic exercise program elicits improved long-term pain and disability reduction in patients with shoulder pain, which suggests that clinicians can confidently use either approach with their patients. Strength of Recommendation: Strong evidence (level 2 evidence with PEDro scores >8/10) suggesting that TDN does not outperform therapeutic exercise regarding long-term pain reduction.

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Barbara Baker, Eric Koch, Kevin Vicari and Kyle Walenta

Introduction: Sports-related concussions (SRCs) have received attention due to their prevalence in youth. An SRC results from a strong force causing neurological impairment. Recent research has recommended rehabilitation within the first week post-SRC after 24 to 48 hours of rest. The postacute phase is defined as 48 hours to 7 days post-SRC. It is imperative to evaluate the most effective mode and intensity of physical activity to reduce symptoms and improve outcomes. Methods: CINAHL, PubMed, SPORTDiscus, and Web of Science databases were used to search the terms “brain concussion” AND “exercise” and variations of these terms. The evidence level for each study was evaluated using the 2011 Oxford Center for Evidence-Based Medicine Guide. The methodological rigor of each study was evaluated using a scale adapted from Medlicott and Harris. Results: Two thousand sixty-eight records were identified. Six studies were included in this systematic review. Three studies were classified as moderately strong. The remaining 3 studies were considered weak. Five of the studies used either a cycle ergometer or a treadmill. The sixth study used walking, cycling, and swimming, as well as sports drills. All of these modes of exercise were determined to be safe. All studies utilized low- and moderate-intensity interventions, which were found to be nondetrimental and showed improved recovery time and symptom resolution. Five of the studies also incorporated components of high-intensity exercise that was also found to be nondetrimental, and they showed a positive influence on recovery time and symptom resolution. However, all activity in each of the reviewed studies started at a low level and progressed up to a higher level only as each individual client’s symptoms permitted. Discussion: Overall, this review found that various modes of activity at light-, moderate-, and high-intensity levels are efficacious and can be safely used during the postacute phase of SRC. Conclusion: Though the volume of literature at this time is limited, therapists should consider prescribing closely monitored individualized exercise programs utilizing progressive intensities when treating patients during the postacute phase of SRC.

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Matthew D. Watson, George J. Davies and Bryan L. Riemann

Context: A recent report demonstrated moderate to strong relationships between seated single-arm shot-put (SSASP) test performance and isokinetic pushing forces at varying velocities, directly supporting the SSASP test as a reflection of multijoint upper-extremity strength. Yet, no previous work appears to have assessed whether the SSASP test is more reflective of shoulder flexion or elbow extension strength. Objective: To examine the relationship between isokinetic shoulder flexion and elbow extension strength and SSASP test performance and to compare limb symmetry indices (LSI) between the 2 tests. Design: Correlational design. Setting: Biomechanics laboratory. Patients (or Other Participants): A total of 30 healthy and physically active young adults. Intervention(s): Participants completed the SSASP test and concentric isokinetic (60°/s and 180°/s) shoulder flexion and elbow extension using their dominant and nondominant arms. Main Outcome Measures: SSASP test performance and isokinetic shoulder flexion and elbow extension peak torques as well as LSI between the 2 tests. Results: Strong relationships were observed between SSASP ranges and isokinetic peak torques at each velocity for both shoulder and elbow (r ≥ .804, P < .001). While the Bland–Altman results on the LSI only demonstrated a significant bias for the shoulder (60°/s, P = .009), limits of agreement results demonstrated extremely wide intervals (32.5%–52.1%). Conclusions: The SSASP test is a multijoint upper-extremity functional performance test that is reflective of equal shoulder flexion and elbow extension contributions; however, there was large variability regarding the agreement between the SSASP LSI and isokinetic shoulder and elbow strength LSI.

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Xiaoyue Hu, Jingxian Li and Lin Wang

Twenty-four healthy adults, including 12 females and 12 males, participated in the study. Each female participant completed three trials in three different phases of one menstrual cycle, which included follicular, ovulatory, and luteal phases. The study aimed to investigate whether there is any difference in joint kinetic sense, neuromuscular coordination, and isokinetic muscle strength (a) between healthy males and females at different phases of the menstrual cycle and (b) between females at different phases of the menstrual cycle. The outcome measures included the number of jumps in the square-hop test and ankle and knee proprioception, which were assessed by an electric-driven movable frame rotated at 0.4 deg/s and isokinetic muscle strength measured by a computerized dynamometer (Biodex). For the square-hop test (p = .006), ankle dorsiflexion/plantar flexion (p < .05), knee flexion/extension (p < .05), the relative peak torque of the isokinetic muscle strength at the 60° and 180° knee flexion/extension (p < .001), and the 30° and 120° ankle plantar flexion/dorsiflexion (p < .05) between females and males showed significant differences. For the females at different phases of the menstrual cycle, significant differences were found on ankle dorsiflexion (p = .003), plantar flexion (p = .023), knee extension (p = .029), the square-hop test (p = .036), and relative peak torque of isokinetic muscle strength at 180° knee flexion (p = .029). This study demonstrated that there are sex differences in lower limb proprioception and mechanical function. Females at ovulatory and luteal phases have better lower limb proprioception than at the follicular phase.