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A Kinematic Comparison of Spring-Loaded and Traditional Crutches

Matthew K. Seeley, Iain Hunter, Thomas Bateman, Adam Roggia, Brad J. Larson, and David O. Draper


A novel spring-loaded-crutch design may provide patients additional forward velocity, relative to traditional axillary crutches; however, this idea has not yet been evaluated.


To quantify elastic potential energy stored by spring-loaded crutches during crutch–ground contact and determine whether this energy increases forward velocity for patients during crutch ambulation. Because elastic potential energy is likely stored by the spring-loaded crutch during ambulation, the authors hypothesized that subjects would exhibit greater peak instantaneous forward velocity during crutch–ground contact and increased preferred ambulation speed during spring-loaded-crutch ambulation, relative to traditional-crutch ambulation.




Biomechanics laboratory.


10 healthy men and 10 healthy women.


The independent variable was crutch type: Subjects used spring-loaded and traditional axillary crutches to ambulate at standardized and preferred speeds.

Main Outcome Measures:

The primary dependent variables were peak instantaneous forward velocity and preferred ambulation speed; these variables were quantified using high-speed videography and an optoelectronic timing device, respectively. Between-crutches differences for the dependent variables were evaluated using paired t tests (α = .05). Elastic potential energy stored by the spring-loaded crutches during crutch–ground contact was also quantified via videography.


Peak forward velocity during crutch–ground contact was 5% greater (P < .001) for spring-loaded-crutch ambulation than for traditional-crutch ambulation. Preferred ambulation speed, however, did not significantly differ (P = .538) between crutch types. The spring-loaded crutches stored an average of 2.50 ± 1.96 J of elastic potential energy during crutch–ground contact.


The spring-loaded crutches appear to have provided subjects with additional peak instantaneous forward velocity. This increased velocity, however, was relatively small and did not increase preferred ambulation speed.

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Effects of Ice Massage Prior to an Iontophoresis Treatment Using Dexamethasone Sodium Phosphate

Brady M. Smith, David O. Draper, Robert D. Hyldahl, and Justin H. Rigby

Context: Low current intensity iontophoresis treatments have increased skin perfusion over 700% from baseline potentially altering drug clearance from or diffusion to the targeted area. Objective: To determine the effects of a preceding 10-minute ice massage on subcutaneous dexamethasone sodium phosphate (Dex-P) concentration and skin perfusion during and after a 4-mA iontophoresis treatment. Design: Controlled laboratory study. Setting: Research laboratory. Patients or Other Participants: Twenty-four participants (male = 12, female = 12; age = 25.6 [4.5] y, height = 173.9 [8.51] cm, mass = 76.11 [16.84] kg). Intervention(s): Participants were randomly assigned into 2 groups: (1) pretreatment 10-minute ice massage and (2) no pretreatment ice massage. Treatment consisted of an 80-mA·minute (4 mA, 20 min) Dex-P iontophoresis treatment. Microdialysis probes (3 mm deep in the forearm) were used to assess Dex-P, dexamethasone (Dex), and its metabolite (Dex-Met) concentrations. Skin perfusion was measured using laser Doppler flowmetry. Main Outcome Measure(s): Microdialysis samples were collected at baseline, at conclusion of treatment, and every 20 minutes posttreatment for 60 minutes. Samples were analyzed to determine Dex-Total (Dex-Total = Dex-P + Dex + Dex-Met). Skin perfusion was calculated as a percentage change from baseline. A mixed-design analysis of variance was used to determine Dex-Total and skin perfusion difference between groups overtime. Results: There was no difference between groups (P = .476), but [Dex-Total] significantly increased over the course of the iontophoresis and posttreatment time (P < .001). Dex-P was measured in 18 of 24 participants with a mean concentration of 0.67 (1.09) μg/mL. Skin perfusion was significantly greater in the no ice treatment group (P = .002). Peak skin perfusion reached 27.74% (47.49%) and 117.39% (103.45%) from baseline for the ice and no ice groups, respectively. Conclusions: Ice massage prior to iontophoresis does not alter the tissue [Dex-Total] even with less skin perfusion.

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Flexibility Retention 3 Weeks after a 5-Day Training Regime

Mack D Rubley, Jody B Brucker, Kenneth L Knight, Mark D Ricard, and David O Draper


To determine the retention of flexibility 25 days after 5 days of three 30-second stretches.


A 2 × 4 repeated-measures factorial. Treatment and time were independent variables. The dependent variable was flexibility as measured by a sit-and-reach box.


33 college students were tested before and after stretching for 5 consecutive days and without stretching on days 8 and 30. Control subjects were prone for 15 minutes; stretch subjects received 15 min of diathermy or sham diathermy and then performed three 30-second standing right-hamstring stretches.


Flexibility was greater on days 5, 8, and 30 than day 1, but days 5, 8, and 30 were not different from each other.


Gains in flexibility are retained for at least 3 weeks after a stretching program. It also appears that 2 sets of 3 repetitions of a sit-and-reach test is sufficient stimulus to induce long-term flexibility gains.