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Xiyao Shan, Pavlos Evangelidis, Takaki Yamagishi, Shun Otsuka, Fumiko Tanaka, Shigenobu Shibata and Yasuo Kawakami

This study investigated (a) site- and direction-dependent variations of passive triceps surae aponeurosis stiffness and (b) the relationships between aponeurosis stiffness and muscle strength and walking performance in older individuals. Seventy-nine healthy older adults participated in this study. Shear wave velocities of the triceps surae aponeuroses at different sites and in two orthogonal directions were obtained in a prone position at rest using supersonic shear imaging. The maximal voluntary isometric contraction torque of the plantar flexors and normal (preferred) and fast (fastest possible) walking speeds (5-m distance) were also measured. The shear wave velocities of the adjoining aponeuroses were weakly associated with plantar flexion torque (r = .23–.34), normal (r = .26), and fast walking speed (r = .25). The results show clear spatial variations and anisotropy of the triceps surae aponeuroses stiffness in vivo, and the aponeurosis stiffness was associated with physical ability in older adults.

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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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Craig Pickering, Dylan Hicks and John Kiely

Elite sprint performances typically peak during an athlete’s 20s and decline thereafter with age. The mechanisms underpinning this sprint performance decline are often reported to be strength-based in nature with reductions in strength capacities driving increases in ground contact time and decreases in stride lengths and frequency. However, an as-of-yet underexplored aspect of Masters sprint performance is that of age-related degradation in neuromuscular infrastructure, which manifests as a decline in both strength and movement coordination. Here, the authors explore reductions in sprint performance in Masters athletes in a holistic fashion, blending discussion of strength and power changes with neuromuscular alterations along with mechanical and technical age-related alterations. In doing so, the authors provide recommendations to Masters sprinters—and the aging population, in general—as to how best to support sprint ability and general function with age, identifying nutritional interventions that support performance and function and suggesting useful programming strategies and injury-reduction techniques.

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Haiko B. Zimmermann, Débora Knihs, Fernando Diefenthaler, Brian MacIntosh and Juliano Dal Pupo

Purpose: The objective of this study was to analyze the effects of a conditioning activity (CA) composed of continuous countermovement jumps on twitch torque production and 30-m sprint times. Methods: A total of 12 sprint athletes, 10 men (23.5 [7.7] y) and 2 women (23.0 [2.8] y), volunteered to participate in this study. The participants were evaluated in 2 sessions as follows: (1) to determine the effects of the CA (3 sets of 5 continuous vertical jumps with a 1-min interval between sets) on 30-m sprint performance over time (2, 4, 6, 8, and 10 min) and (2) to evaluate twitch peak torque to determine the magnitude and time course of the induced postactivation potentiation at the same recovery intervals. Results: Mixed-model analysis of variance with Bonferroni post hoc verified that there was a decrease on the 30-m sprint time at 2 minutes (P = .01; Δ = 2.78%; effect size [ES] = 0.43) and 4 minutes (P = .02; Δ = 2%, ES = 0.30) compared with pre when the CA preceded the sprints. The peak torque of quadriceps also showed significant increase from pretest to 2 minutes (P < .01; Δ = 17.0% [12.2%]; ES = 0.45) and 4 minutes (P = .02; Δ = 7.2% [8.8%]; ES = 0.20). Conclusion: The inclusion of CA composed of continuous countermovement jumps in the warm-up routine improved 30-m sprint performance at 2- and 4-minute time intervals after the CA (postactivation performance enhancement). Since postactivation potentiation was confirmed with electrical stimulation at the time when sprint performance increased, it was concluded that postactivation potentiation may have contributed to the observed performance increases.

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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.

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Charles S. Urwin, Rodney J. Snow, Dominique Condo, Rhiannon Snipe, Glenn D. Wadley and Amelia J. Carr

This review aimed to identify factors associated with (a) physiological responses, (b) gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms, and (c) exercise performance following sodium citrate supplementation. A literature search identified 33 articles. Observations of physiological responses and GI symptoms were categorized by dose (< 500, 500, and > 500 mg/kg body mass [BM]) and by timing of postingestion measurements (in minutes). Exercise performance following sodium citrate supplementation was compared with placebo using statistical significance, percentage change, and effect size. Performance observations were categorized by exercise duration (very short < 60 s, short ≥ 60 and ≤ 420 s, and longer > 420 s) and intensity (very high > 100% VO2max and high 90–100% VO2max). Ingestion of 500 mg/kg BM sodium citrate induced blood alkalosis more frequently than < 500 mg/kg BM, and with similar frequency to >500 mg/kg BM. The GI symptoms were minimized when a 500 mg/kg BM dose was ingested in capsules rather than in solution. Significant improvements in performance following sodium citrate supplementation were reported in all observations of short-duration and very high–intensity exercise with a 500 mg/kg BM dose. However, the efficacy of supplementation for short-duration, high-intensity exercise is less clear, given that only 25% of observations reported significant improvements in performance following sodium citrate supplementation. Based on the current literature, the authors recommend ingestion of 500 mg/kg BM sodium citrate in capsules to induce alkalosis and minimize GI symptoms. Supplementation was of most benefit to performance of short-duration exercise of very high intensity; further investigation is required to determine the importance of ingestion duration and timing.

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Tomasz Skowronek, Grzegorz Juras and Kajetan J. Słomka

Purpose: To estimate the influence of global anaerobic fatigue on rhythm performance. Methods: Fifteen young males participated in the experiment. Anaerobic fatigue was induced with 2 consecutive running-based anaerobic sprint tests (RAST). The level of lactate was controlled before the first RAST and 3 minutes after each RAST. The rhythm performance was assessed by using Optojump Next (Microgate, Bolzano, Italy). The rhythm test was conducted 3 times, before fatigue and immediately after each RAST. Eight variables of the rhythm test were analyzed: the mean frequency of jumps for the assisted and unassisted phase (XfAP and XfUAP), SD of jump frequency for the assisted and unassisted phase (SDfAP and SDfUAP), and mean absolute error for the assisted and unassisted phases of the test (XERAP and XERUAP, respectively). Results: One-way repeated-measures analysis of variance showed a significant main effect of anaerobic effort on rhythm variables only in the unassisted phase of the test. Statistically significant differences were observed in XfUAP between the first and third rhythm measurements (F 2,28 = 4.98, P < .014, ηp2=26.23%), SD of jump frequency for the unassisted phase (SDfUAP; F 2,28 = 3.48, P = .05, ηp2=19.9%), and mean absolute error for the unassisted phase (XERUAP; F 2,28 = 3.36, P = .006, ηp2=19.43%). Conclusions: The results show that rhythm of movement may be negatively influenced after intensive anaerobic fatigue. The exact mechanism of this phenomenon is not precisely defined, but both central and peripheral fatigue are suspected to be involved.

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Thomas Sawczuk, Ben Jones, Mitchell Welch, Clive Beggs, Sean Scantlebury and Kevin Till

Purpose: To evaluate the relative importance and predictive ability of salivary immunoglobulin A (s-IgA) measures with regards to upper respiratory illness (URI) in youth athletes. Methods: Over a 38-week period, 22 youth athletes (age = 16.8 [0.5] y) provided daily symptoms of URI and 15 fortnightly passive drool saliva samples, from which s-IgA concentration and secretion rate were measured. Kernel-smoothed bootstrapping generated a balanced data set with simulated data points. The random forest algorithm was used to evaluate the relative importance (RI) and predictive ability of s-IgA concentration and secretion rate with regards to URI symptoms present on the day of saliva sampling (URIday), within 2 weeks of sampling (URI2wk), and within 4 weeks of sampling (URI4wk). Results: The percentage deviation from average healthy s-IgA concentration was the most important feature for URIday (median RI 1.74, interquartile range 1.41–2.07). The average healthy s-IgA secretion rate was the most important feature for URI4wk (median RI 0.94, interquartile range 0.79–1.13). No feature was clearly more important than any other when URI symptoms were identified within 2 weeks of sampling. The values for median area under the curve were 0.68, 0.63, and 0.65 for URIday, URI2wk, and URI4wk, respectively. Conclusions: The RI values suggest that the percentage deviation from average healthy s-IgA concentration may be used to evaluate the short-term risk of URI, while the average healthy s-IgA secretion rate may be used to evaluate the long-term risk. However, the results show that neither s-IgA concentration nor secretion rate can be used to accurately predict URI onset within a 4-week window in youth athletes.