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John K. Malone, Catherine Blake and Brian Caulfield

Purpose:

To investigate the use of neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) during acute recovery between 2 bouts of maximal aerobic exercise.

Methods:

On 3 separate days, 19 trained male cyclists (28 ± 7 y, 76.4 ± 10.4 kg, power output at maximal aerobic power [pVo2max] 417 ± 44 W) performed a 3-min maximal cycling bout at 105% PVo2max before a 30-min randomly assigned recovery intervention of passive (PAS: resting), active (ACT: 30% PVo2max), or NMES (5 Hz, 4 pulses at 500 μs). Immediately afterward, a cycle bout at 95% PVo2max to exhaustion (TLIM) was performed. Heart rate (HR) and blood lactate (BLa) were recorded at designated time points. Data were analyzed using repeated-measures ANOVA with a Tukey honestly significantly different post hoc test. Statistical significance threshold was P < .05.

Results:

The TLIM was significantly shorter for NMES than for ACT (199.6 ± 69.4 s vs 250.7 ± 105.5 s: P = .016) but not PAS recovery (199.6 ± 69.4 s vs 216.4 ± 77.5 s: P = .157). The TLIM was not significantly different between ACT and PAS (250.7 ± 105.5 s vs 216.4 ± 77.5 s: P = .088). The decline in BLa was significantly greater during ACT than NMES and PAS recovery (P < .001), with no difference between NMES and PAS. In addition, HR was significantly higher during ACT than NMES and PAS recovery (P < .001), with no difference between NMES and PAS.

Conclusions:

NMES was less effective than ACT and comparable to PAS recovery when used between 2 bouts of maximal aerobic exercise in trained male cyclists.

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Karl Fullam, Brian Caulfield, Garrett F. Coughlan and Eamonn Delahunt

Context:

The Star Excursion Balance Test (SEBT) and the Y-Balance Test (YBT) have 3 common reach directions: anterior (ANT), posteromedial (PM), and posterolateral (PL). Previous research has indicated that reach-distance performance on the ANT reach direction of the SEBT differs from that on the YBT. Kinematic patterns associated with the ANT reach direction of the SEBT and YBT need to be investigated to fully understand this difference, along with the PM and PL reach directions, to deduce any kinematic discrepancies between the 2 balance tests.

Objective:

To compare and contrast the kinematic patterns associated with test performance on the reach directions common to the SEBT and YBT.

Design:

Controlled laboratory study.

Setting:

University laboratory.

Participants:

15 healthy male (age 23.33 ± 2.02 y, height 1.77 ± 0.04 m, body mass 80.00 ± 9.03 kg) and 14 healthy female (age 21.14 ± 1.66 y, height 1.63 ± 0.06 m, body mass 59.58 ± 7.61 kg) volunteers.

Intervention:

Each participant performed 3 trials of the ANT, PM, and PL reach directions of the SEBT and YBT on their dominant leg.

Main Outcome Measures:

Sagittal-plane lower-limb kinematic profiles were recorded using a 3-D motion-analysis system. Reach distances were also recorded for each reach direction.

Results:

A significant main effect (P < .05) was observed for test condition with participants reaching farther on the ANT reach direction of the SEBT compared with the YBT. While reaching in the ANT direction participants were characterized by a more flexed position of the hip joint at the point of maximum reach on the YBT (27.94° ± 13.84°) compared with the SEBT (20.37° ± 18.64°).

Conclusions:

Based on these observed results, the authors conclude that test performance on the SEBT and YBT differ in terms of dynamic neuromuscular demands, as evidenced by differences in reach distances achieved in the ANT reach direction and associated test kinematic profile.

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Barry R. Greene, Timothy G. Foran, Denise McGrath, Emer P. Doheny, Adrian Burns and Brian Caulfield

This study compares the performance of algorithms for body-worn sensors used with a spatiotemporal gait analysis platform to the GAITRite electronic walkway. The mean error in detection time (true error) for heel strike and toe-off was 33.9 ± 10.4 ms and 3.8 ± 28.7 ms, respectively. The ICC for temporal parameters step, stride, swing and stance time was found to be greater than 0.84, indicating good agreement. Similarly, for spatial gait parameters—stride length and velocity—the ICC was found to be greater than 0.88. Results show good to excellent concurrent validity in spatiotemporal gait parameters, at three different walking speeds (best agreement observed at normal walking speed). The reported algorithms for body-worn sensors are comparable to the GAITRite electronic walkway for measurement of spatiotemporal gait parameters in healthy subjects.

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Alison Keogh, Barry Smyth, Brian Caulfield, Aonghus Lawlor, Jakim Berndsen and Cailbhe Doherty

Purpose: Despite the volume of available literature focusing on marathon running and the prediction of performance, no single prediction equations exists that is accurate for all runners of varying experiences and abilities. Indeed the relative merits and utility of the existing equations remain unclear. Thus, the aim of this study was to collate, characterize, compare, and contrast all available marathon prediction equations. Methods: A systematic review was conducted to identify observational research studies outlining any kind of prediction algorithm for marathon performance. Results: Thirty-six studies with 114 equations were identified. Sixty-one equations were based on training and anthropometric variables, whereas 53 equations included variables that required laboratory tests and equipment. The accuracy of these equations was denoted via a variety of metrics; r 2 values were provided for 68 equations (r 2 = .10–.99), and an SEE was provided for 19 equations (SEE 0.27–27.4 min). Conclusion: Heterogeneity of the data precludes the identification of a single “best” equation. Important variables such as course gradient, sex, and expected weather conditions were often not included, and some widely used equations did not report the r 2 value. Runners should therefore be wary of relying on a single equation to predict their performance.

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Brian Caulfield, Tara Crammond, Angela O’Sullivan, Susan Reynolds and Tomas Ward

Context:

Identification of motor control deficit associated with Functional Instability (FI) of the ankle joint.

Objective:

T o compare patterns of ankle muscle activation during jump landing in participants with FI and a control group.

Design:

Cross-sectional comparison.

Setting:

Research laboratory.

Participants:

Twelve participants with FI (6 m, 6 f; age, 26.4 ± 4.6 years) and 10 control subjects (5 m, 5 f; age 24.9 ± 2.5 years).

Main Outcome Measures:

Integrated electromyographic (IEMG) activity of ankle musculature in the 150-millisecond period immediately prior to and post impact during 2 different jump landing activities.

Results:

Participants with FI demonstrated a significant reduction in pre-impact peroneus longus IEMG activity during both jumping activities compared to controls (P < .05). There were no significant differences between the groups’ soleus or tibialis anterior IEMG activity during the pre- or post-impact periods.

Conclusions:

These results help to further our understanding of changes in control of ankle movement during dynamic activity in participants with FI.

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Karl Fullam, Brian Caulfield, Garrett F. Coughlan, Wayne McNulty, David Campbell and Eamonn Delahunt

Context: Decreased postural balance is a primary risk factor for lower-limb injuries. Cryotherapy is commonly utilized by clinicians to provide local analgesia for minor acute knee joint musculoskeletal injuries during breaks in play or at halftime. Its effect on dynamic postural balance remains unclear. Objective: To investigate the acute effects of a 15-minute knee joint cryotherapy application on dynamic postural balance, as assessed primarily via a clinically oriented outcome measure. Design: Experimental study. Setting: University biomechanics laboratory. Patients or Participants: A total of 28 elite-level college male field-sport athletes. Intervention: Participants were tested on the anterior, posteromedial, and posterolateral reach directions of the Star Excursion Balance Test both before and after a 15-minute knee joint cryotherapy application. Main Outcome Measure(s): Normalized reach distances, 3-dimensional knee joint kinematics, sagittal plane hip and ankle joint kinematics, as well as fractal dimension of the center-of-pressure path during the performance of the anterior, posteromedial, and posterolateral reach directions of the Star Excursion Balance Test. Results: There was a statistically significant decrease in reach distance scores achieved on anterior, posteromedial, and posterolateral directions of the Star Excursion Balance Test from precryotherapy to postcryotherapy (P < .05). None of the decreases in reach distance scores exceeded the reported smallest detectable difference values. No significant differences were observed in hip, knee, or ankle joint kinematics (P > .05). No significant change in fractal dimension was observed for any reach direction following cryotherapy application (P > .05). Conclusions: The results of the present study indicate that dynamic postural balance is unlikely to be adversely affected immediately following cryotherapy application to the knee joint.