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Differences in Gluteal and Quadriceps Muscle Activation Among Adults With and Without Lumbar Hyperlordosis

Mohammad H. Izadi Farhadi, Foad Seidi, Hooman Minoonejad, and Abbey C. Thomas

Context: Many factors have been reported contributing to altering the neuromuscular function of hip and knee muscles. The lumbar hyperlordosis, as a poor posture in some athletes, is thought to be associated with the alteration of the hip and knee muscles activity. Objective: To examine the activation of selected hip and knee muscles in athletes with and without lumbar hyperlordosis during functional activities. Design: Case-control study. Setting: University laboratory. Participants: Twenty-six college male athletes (n = 13 with and n = 13 without lumbar hyperlordosis). Interventions: Surface electromyography of gluteus maximus (GMAX), gluteus medius (GMED), vastus medialis oblique (VMO), and vastus lateralis (VL) were recorded during single-leg squat and single-leg jump landing (SLJL) tasks. Main Outcome Measure: Preactivity; reactivity; and onset muscle during SLJL and eccentric activity during single-leg squat (GMAX, GMED, VMO, and VL along with the ratio of VMO:VL) were assessed. Results: Athletes with lumbar hyperlordosis had a higher level of activity in their GMAX (P = .003), VMO (P = .04), and VL (P = .01) muscles at the moment before foot contact during SLJL. These athletes also demonstrated a higher level of GMAX activity (P = .01) immediately after foot contact. Finally, athletes with lumbar hyperlordosis activated their GMAX sooner (P = .02) during the SLJL. Athletes with normal lumbar lordosis had more activity in their GMED muscle (P = .001) in the descending phase of the single-leg squat task and a higher VMO:VL (P = .01) at the moment after the foot contact during the SLJL. Conclusion: The altered activation of GMAX, GMED, VMO, VL, and VMO:VL can reveal the role of lumbar hyperlordosis in the knee and hip muscles’ alteration in athletes. Further study is needed to identify whether these alterations in the hip and knee muscles contribute to injury in athletes.

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Agreement Between Investigators Using Paired-Pulse Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation to Assess Quadriceps Intracortical Excitability

Abbey C. Thomas, Brian G. Pietrosimone, and Carter J. Bayer

Context: Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) may provide important information regarding the corticospinal mechanisms that may contribute to the neuromuscular activation impairments. Paired-pulse TMS testing is a reliable method for measuring intracortical facilitation and inhibition; however, little evidence exists regarding agreement of these measures in the quadriceps. Objective: To determine the between-sessions and interrater agreement of intracortical excitability (short- and long-interval intracortical inhibition [SICI, LICI] and intracortical facilitation [ICF]) in the dominant-limb quadriceps. Design: Reliability study. Setting: Research laboratory. Participants: 13 healthy volunteers (n = 6 women; age 24.7 ± 2.1 y; height 1.7 ± 0.1 m; mass 77.1 ± 17.4 kg). Intervention: Participants completed 2 TMS sessions separated by 1 wk. Main Outcome Measures: Two investigators measured quadriceps SICI, LICI, and ICF at rest and actively (5% of maximal voluntary isometric contraction). All participants were seated in a dynamometer with the knee flexed to 90°. Intracortical-excitability paradigm and investigator order were randomized. Bland-Altman analyses were used to establish agreement. Results: Agreement was stronger between sessions within a single investigator than between investigators and for active than resting measures. Agreement was strongest for resting SICI and active ICF and LICI between sessions for each investigator. Conclusions: Quadriceps intracortical excitability may be measured longitudinally by a single investigator, though active muscle contraction should be elicited during testing.

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Fatigue’s Lack of Effect on Thigh-Muscle Activity in Anterior Cruciate Ligament–Reconstructed Patients During a Dynamic-Landing Task

Lindsey K. Lepley, Abbey C. Thomas, Scott G. McLean, and Riann M. Palmieri-Smith

Context:

As individuals returning to activity after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLr) likely experience fatigue, understanding how fatigue affects knee-muscle activation patterns during sport-like maneuvers is of clinical importance. Fatigue has been suggested to impair neuromuscular control strategies. As a result, fatigue may place ACLr patients at increased risk of developing posttraumatic osteoarthritis (OA).

Objective:

To determine the effects of fatigue on knee-muscle activity post-ACLr.

Design:

Case control.

Setting:

University laboratory.

Participants:

12 individuals 7–10 mo post-ACLr (7 male, 5 female; age 22.1 ± 4.7 y; 1.8 ± 0.1 m; mass 77.7 ± 11.9 kg) and 13 controls (4 male, 9 female; age 22.9 ± 4.3 y; 1.7 ± 0.1 m; mass 66.9 ± 9.8 kg).

Interventions:

Fatigue was induced via repetitive sets of double-leg squats (n = 8), which were interspersed with sets of single-leg landings (n = 3), until squats were no longer possible.

Main Outcome Measures:

2 × 2 repeated-measures ANOVA was used to detect the main effects of group (ACLr, control) and fatigue state (prefatigue, postfatigue) on quadriceps:hamstring cocontraction index (Q:H CCI).

Results:

All subjects demonstrated higher Q:H CCI at prefatigue compared with postfatigue (F 1,23 = 66.949, P ≤ .001). Q:H CCI did not differ between groups (F 1,23 = 0.599, P = .447).

Conclusions:

The results indicate that regardless of fatigue state, ACLr individuals are capable of restoring muscle-activation patterns similar to those in healthy subjects. As a result, excessive muscle cocontraction, which has been hypothesized as a potential mechanism of posttraumatic OA, may not contribute to joint degeneration after ACLr.