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  • Author: Katherine R. Newsham x
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Katherine R. Newsham

Context: Exercising intrinsic foot muscles (IFMs) can improve dynamic balance and foot posture. The exercises are not intuitive and electrotherapy (neuromuscular electrical stimulation [NMES]) has been suggested to help individuals execute the exercises. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of training IFM program on dynamic balance and foot posture and compare traditional training methods (TRAIN) with traditional training plus NMES on the perceived workload of the exercises, balance, and foot posture. Design: Randomized controlled trial. Methods: Thirty-nine participants were randomized to control, TRAIN, or NMES. TRAIN and NMES performed IFM exercises daily for 4 weeks; NMES received electrotherapy during the first 2 weeks of training. The Y-Balance test and arch height index were measured in all participants at baseline. The training groups were measured again at 2 weeks; all participants were measured at 4 weeks and 8 weeks, after 4 weeks of no training. Perceived workload (National Aeronautics and Space Administration Task Load Index) of exercises was assessed throughout the first 2 weeks and at 4 weeks. Results: A 4-week IFM training program demonstrated increases in Y-Balance (P = .01) for TRAIN and in arch height index (seated P = .03; standing P = .02) for NMES, relative to baseline. NMES demonstrated improvement in Y-Balance (P = .02) and arch height index standing (P = .01) at 2 weeks. There were no significant differences between the training groups. Groups were similar in the number responding to exercises in excess of minimal detectable change on all clinical measures. Perceived workload of the exercises decreased during the first 2 weeks of training (P = .02), and more notably at 4 weeks (P < .001). The groups did not differ in how they perceived the workload. Conclusions: A 4-week IFM training program improved dynamic balance and foot posture. Adding NMES in early phases of training provided early improvement in dynamic balance and foot posture, but did not affect perceived workload.

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Katherine R. Newsham, Matthew D. Beekley, and Christine A. Lauber


Exercise-related medial leg pain (ERMLP) is a common complaint among athletes, and efforts toward rehabilitation are often unsuccessful.


To evaluate the efficacy of a therapeutic intervention in ERMLP localized to soft tissue.


A quasi-experimental, nonequivalent control-group study.


Athletic training facility.


20 volunteer male and female athletes (18–22 y old) with ERMLP. Complete data were available for 13 participants.


Treatment group (TRE, n = 7) received therapeutic intervention focused on relieving muscle hypertonicity in the deep compartment of the lower leg and restoring balance of the toe flexors and extensors. Control group (CON, n = 6) received no intervention.

Main Outcome Measures:

Self-reported pain intensity, pain threshold, and extensor hallucis longus to extensor digitorum brevis (EHL:EDB) electromyography ratio.


There were no significant differences in age, duration of symptoms, or pain measures between the 2 groups at baseline. CON demonstrated no significant changes in any of the outcome measures in posttreatment testing, but significant between-groups differences were identified for pain during activity (CON mean = 6.5, 95% CI 5.05, 7.95; TRE mean = 3.5, 95% CI 1.67, 5.33; P = .01), change scores for pain during activity (CON mean = 0.33, 95% CI −1.25, 1.91; TRE mean = −3.43, 95% CI:−4.6, −2.25; P < .001), change scores in pressure threshold (CON mean = −0.25, 95% CI −0.74, 0.23; TRE mean = 0.72, 95% CI 0.22, 1.37; P = .006), and change in EHL:EDB ratios (CON mean = 0.05, 95% CI −0.22, 0.33; TRE mean = 1.07, 95% CI 0.75, 2.07; P < .046).


Therapeutic interventions focused on restoring muscle balance appear to be effective in resolving ERMLP.