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Scott W. Cheatham, Keelan R. Enseki, and Morey J. Kolber

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Shaun Duffy, Nickolai Martonick, Ashley Reeves, Scott W. Cheatham, Craig McGowan, and Russell T. Baker

Clinicians utilize instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM) to identify and treat myofascial dysfunction or pathology. Currently, little is known regarding the ability of clinicians to provide similar IASTM forces across treatment sessions. The authors’ purpose was to quantify clinician reliability of force application during a simulated IASTM treatment scenario. Five licensed athletic trainers with previous IASTM training (mean credential experience = 5.2 [4.3] y; median = 5 y) performed 15 one-handed unidirectional sweeping strokes with each of the 3 instruments on 2 consecutive days for a total of 90 data points each. The IASTM stroke application was analyzed for peak normal forces (F peak) and mean normal forces (F mean) by stroke across 2 sessions. The authors’ findings indicate IASTM trained clinicians demonstrated sufficient F peak and F mean reliability across a treatment range during a one-handed IASTM treatment. Future research should examine if IASTM applied at different force ranges influences patient outcomes.

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Nickolai J.P. Martonick, Ashley J. Reeves, James A. Whitlock, Taylor C. Stevenson, Scott W. Cheatham, Craig P. McGowan, and Russell T. Baker

Context: Instrument-assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM) is a therapeutic intervention used by clinicians to identify and treat myofascial dysfunction or pathology. However, little is known about the amount of force used by clinicians during an IASTM treatment and how it compares to reports of force in the current literature. Objective: To quantify the range of force applied by trained clinicians during a simulated IASTM treatment scenario. Design: Experimental. Setting: University research laboratory. Participants: Eleven licensed clinicians (physical therapist = 2, chiropractor = 2, and athletic trainer = 7) with professional IASTM training participated in the study. The participants reported a range of credentialed experience from 1 to 15 years (mean = 7 [4.7] y; median = 6 y). Intervention: Participants performed 15 one-handed unidirectional sweeping strokes with each of the 5 instruments for a total of 75 data points each. Force data were collected from a force plate with an attached skin simulant during a hypothetical treatment scenario. Main Outcome Measures: Peak force and average forces for individual strokes across all instruments were identified. Averages for these forces were calculated for all participants combined, as well as for individual participants. Results: The average of peak forces produced by our sample of trained clinicians was 6.7 N and the average mean forces was 4.5 N. Across individual clinicians, average peak forces ranged from 2.6 to 14.0 N, and average mean forces ranged from 1.6 to 10.0 N. Conclusions: The clinicians in our study produced a broad range of IASTM forces. The observed forces in our study were similar to those reported in prior research examining an IASTM treatment to the gastrocnemius of healthy individuals and greater than what has been reported as effective in treating delayed onset muscle soreness. Our data can be used by researchers examining clinically relevant IASTM treatment force on patient outcomes.

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Lucas C. Bianco, James M. May, Smokey L. Fermin, Robert Oates, and Scott W. Cheatham

In the current case series, three male patients aged 19–21 years, all participating in basketball activities during their competitive season, were evaluated and classified with patella tendinopathy. A combination of positional release therapy (PRT) treatment with therapeutic exercises was used to decrease pain and improve function. Over the course of the treatment, each patient improved outcomes at discharge and sustained the improvements at follow-up. The purpose of this paper is to compare the results of this case series with a study of the effects of eccentric exercises on physically active patients diagnosed with patella tendinopathy and participating in jumping sports.

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Moni Syeda, Jason Bartholomew, Shayane Santiago, Jeff Peterson, Russell T. Baker, and Scott W. Cheatham

Focused Clinical Question: What are the immediate effects of instrumented-assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM) application on measures of lower extremity range of motion, muscular power, and strength in physically active adults not currently suffering from a musculoskeletal injury? Clinical Bottom Line: Grade 1 evidence supports immediate improvements in lower extremity range of motion in physically active adults after IASTM application. However, the evidence is lacking to support IASTM to improve muscular power and strength. Therefore, additional research is warranted to determine the acute effects of IASTM use on muscular power and strength in healthy, physically active adults.