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Open access

Robert J. Reyburn and Cameron J. Powden

Context: Ankle braces have been theorized to augment dynamic balance. Objectives: To complete a systematic review with meta-analysis of the available literature assessing the effect of ankle braces on dynamic balance in individuals with and without chronic ankle instability (CAI). Evidence Acquisition: Electronic databases (PubMed, MEDLINE, CINAHL, and SPORTDiscus) were searched from inception to October 2019 using combinations of keywords related to dynamic balance, ankle braces, Star Excursion Balance Test (SEBT), Y-Balance Test (YBT), and Time to Stabilization. Inclusion criteria required that studies examined the effects of ankle braces on dynamic balance. Studies were excluded if they evaluated other conditions besides CAI, did not access dynamic balance, or did not use an ankle brace. Methodological quality was assessed using the Physiotherapy Evidence Database scale. The level of evidence was assessed using the Strength of Recommendation Taxonomy. The magnitude of brace effects on dynamic balance was examined using Hedges g effect sizes (ESs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Random-effects meta-analysis was performed to synthesize SEBT/YBT and Time to Stabilization data separately. Data Synthesis: Seven studies were included with a median Physiotherapy Evidence Database score of 60% (range 50%–60%), and 4 were classified as high quality. Overall meta-analysis indicated a weak to no effect of braces on SEBT/YBT (ES = 0.117; 95% CI, −0.080 to 0.433; P = .177) and Time to Stabilization (ES = −0.064; 95% CI, −0.211 to 0.083, P = .083). Subanalysis of SEBT/YBT measures indicated a weak negative effect in healthy participants (ES = −0.116; 95% CI, −0.209 to −0.022, P = .015) and a strong positive effect in individuals with CAI (ES = 0.777; 95% CI, 0.418 to 1.136; P < .001). Conclusion: The current literature supports a strong effect of ankle braces on the SEBT/YBT in those with CAI. However, little to no dynamic balance changes were noted in healthy participants. Future research should include consistent ankle brace types, pathologic populations, and the examination of dynamic balance changes contribution to injury risk reduction.

Open access

Devin S. Kielur and Cameron J. Powden

Context: Impaired dorsiflexion range of motion (DFROM) has been established as a predictor of lower-extremity injury. Compression tissue flossing (CTF) may address tissue restrictions associated with impaired DFROM; however, a consensus is yet to support these effects. Objectives: To summarize the available literature regarding CTF on DFROM in physically active individuals. Evidence Acquisition: PubMed and EBSCOhost (CINAHL, MEDLINE, and SPORTDiscus) were searched from 1965 to July 2019 for related articles using combination terms related to CTF and DRFOM. Articles were included if they measured the immediate effects of CTF on DFROM. Methodological quality was assessed using the Physiotherapy Evidence Database scale. The level of evidence was assessed using the Strength of Recommendation Taxonomy. The magnitude of CTF effects from pre-CTF to post-CTF and compared with a control of range of motion activities only were examined using Hedges g effect sizes and 95% confidence intervals. Randomeffects meta-analysis was performed to synthesize DFROM changes. Evidence Synthesis: A total of 6 studies were included in the analysis. The average Physiotherapy Evidence Database score was 60% (range = 30%–80%) with 4 out of 6 studies considered high quality and 2 as low quality. Meta-analysis indicated no DFROM improvements for CTF compared with range of motion activities only (effect size = 0.124; 95% confidence interval, −0.137 to 0.384; P = .352) and moderate improvements from pre-CTF to post-CTF (effect size = 0.455; 95% confidence interval, 0.022 to 0.889; P = .040). Conclusions: There is grade B evidence to suggest CTF may have no effect on DFROM when compared with a control of range of motion activities only and results in moderate improvements from pre-CTF to post-CTF. This suggests that DFROM improvements were most likely due to exercises completed rather than the band application.

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Jennifer E. Meyer, Matthew J. Rivera, and Cameron J. Powden

Context: Mulligan’s Mobilization with Movement (MWM) is a common intervention used to address dorsiflexion range of motion (DFROM) impairments. However, the treatment dosage of MWMs varies within the literature. Objective: The aim of this study was to examine the effect of serial MWM application on DFROM. Design: Repeated-measures cohort. Setting: A Midwestern University and the surrounding community. Participants: A total of 18 adults (13 females; age = 29 [12.87] y; DFROM = 30.26° [4.60°]) with decrease dorsiflexion (<40°) participated. Inclusion criteria consisted of a history of ≥1 ankle sprain, ≥18 years old, no lower-extremity injury in the last 6 months, and no history of foot/ankle surgery. Intervention: Participants completed a single data collection session consisting of 10 individual sets of MWMs. Main Outcome Measures: DFROM was taken at baseline and immediately after each intervention set (post 1, post 2, … post 10). DFROM was measured with a digital inclinometer on the anterior aspect of the tibia during the weight-bearing lunge test with the knee straight and knee bent. Analysis of variances examined DFROM changes over time. Post hoc analysis evaluated sequential pairwise comparisons and changes from baseline at each time point. Results: Analysis of variance results indicated a significant time main effect for weight-bearing lunge test with knee bent (P < .001) and a nonsignificant effect for weight-bearing lunge test with knee straight (P < .924). Post hoc analysis indicated improvements in the weight-bearing lunge test with knee bent at each timepoint compared with baseline (P < .005). Post 2 improved compared with post 1 (P = .027). No other pairwise sequential comparisons were significant (P > .417). Conclusions: MWMs significantly improved acute knee bent DFROM and indicated that after 2 sets of MWMs, no further DFROM improvements were identified. Future research should investigate the lasting effects of DFROM improvements with variable MWM dosages.

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Matthew Rivera, Lindsey Eberman, Kenneth Games, and Cameron J. Powden

Context: The pectoralis minor (PM) is an important postural muscle that may benefit from myofascial techniques, such as Graston Technique® (GT) and self-myofascial release (SMR). Objective: To examine the effects of GT and SMR on PM length, glenohumeral total arc of motion (TAM), and skin temperature. Design: Cohort. Setting: Laboratory. Participants: Twenty-six healthy participants (19 females and 7 males; age = 20.9 [2.24] y, height = 170.52 [8.66] cm, and weight = 72.45 [12.32] kg) with PM length restriction participated. Interventions: Participants were randomized to the intervention groups (GT = 12 and SMR = 14). GT and SMR interventions were both applied for a total of 5 minutes during each of the 3 treatment sessions. Main Outcome Measures: PM length, TAM, and skin temperature were collected before and after each intervention session (Pre1, Post1, Pre2, Post2, Pre3, and Post3) and at 1-week follow-up (follow-up). Separate intervention by time analyses of variance examined differences for each outcomes measure. Bonferroni post hoc analyses were completed when indicated. Significance was set a priori at P ≤ .05. Results: No significant intervention by time interactions were identified for PM length, TAM, or temperature (P > .05). No significant intervention main effects were identified for PM length (P > .05), TAM (P > .05), or temperature (P > .05) between the GT or SMR technique groups. Overall, time main effects were found for PM length (P = .02) and temperature (P < .001). Post hoc analysis showed a significant increase in PM length for both intervention groups at follow-up (P = .03) compared with Post2. Furthermore, there were significant increases in temperature at Post1 (P < .001), Post2 (P = .01), and Post3 (P < .001) compared with Pre1; Post2 was increased compared with Pre2 (P = .003), Pre3 (P < .001), and follow-up (P = .01); Post3 increased compared with Pre3 (P = .01) and follow-up (P = .01). Conclusion: Serial application of GT and SMR to the PM did not result in increases in PM length or TAM. Regardless of intervention, skin temperature increased following each intervention.

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Emily H. Gabriel, Cameron J. Powden, and Matthew C. Hoch

Context: The Y-Balance Test (YBT) and Star Excursion Balance Test (SEBT) are commonly used to detect deficits in dynamic postural control. There is a lack of literature on the differences in reach distances and efficiency of the tests. Objective: To compare the reach distances of the YBT and SEBT. An additional aim was to compare the time necessary to administer the 2 tests and utilize a discrete event simulation to determine the number of participants who could be screened within different scenarios. Design: Cross-sectional. Laboratory Patients: Twenty-four physically active individuals between the ages of 18–35 years volunteered to participate in this study (M/F: 11/13; age 22.78 [2.63] y, height 68.22 [4.32] cm, mass 173.27 [10.96] kg). Intervention: The participants reported to the laboratory on one occasion and performed the YBT and SEBT. The anterior, posteromedial, and posterolateral reach distances were recorded for each test. In addition, the time to administer each test was recorded in seconds. Main Outcome Measures: The average reach distances and time for each test were used for analysis. Paired t tests were utilized to compare the reach distances and time to administer the 2 tests. A discrete event simulation was used to determine how many participants could be screened using each test. Results: The anterior reach for the SEBT (64.52% [6.07%]) was significantly greater than the YBT (61.66% [6.37%]; P < .01). The administration time for the YBT (512.42 [123.97] s) was significantly longer than the administration time for the SEBT (364.96 [69.46] s; P < .01). The discrete event simulation revealed more participants could be screened using the SEBT when compared with the YBT for every situation. Conclusion: Scores on the anterior reach of the SEBT are larger when compared with the YBT. The discrete event simulation can successfully be used to determine how many participants could be screened with a certain amount of resources given the use of a specific test.

Open access

Cameron J. Powden, Matthew C. Hoch, and Johanna M. Hoch

Context: There is an increased emphasis on the need to capture and incorporate self-reported function to make clinical decisions when providing patient-centered care. Response shift (RS), or a change in an individual’s self-evaluation of a construct, may affect the accurate assessment of change in self-reported function throughout the course of rehabilitation. A systematic review of this phenomenon may provide valuable information regarding the accuracy of self-reported function. Objectives: To systematically locate and synthesize the existing evidence regarding RS during care for various orthopedic conditions. Evidence Acquisition: Electronic databases (PubMed, MEDLINE, CINAHL, SPORTDiscus, and Psychology & Behavioral Sciences Collection) were searched from inception to November 2016. Two investigators independently assessed methodological quality using the modified Downs and Black Quality Index. The quality of evidence was assessed using the Strength-of-Recommendation Taxonomy. The magnitude of RS was examined through effect sizes. Evidence Synthesis: Nine studies were included (7 high quality and 2 low quality) with a median Downs and Black Quality Index score of 81.25% (range = 56.25%–93.75%). Overall, the studies demonstrated weak to strong effect sizes (range = −1.58–0.33), indicating the potential for RS. Of the 36 point estimates calculated, 22 (61.11%), 2 (5.56%), and 12 (33.33%) were associated with weak, moderate negative, and strong negative effect sizes, respectively. Conclusions: There is grade B evidence that a weak RS, in which individuals initially underestimate their disability, may occur in people undergoing rehabilitation for an orthopedic condition. It is important for clinicians to be aware of the potential shift in their patients’ internal standards, as it can affect the evaluation of health-related quality of life changes during the care of orthopedic conditions. A shift in the internal standards of the patient can lead to subsequent misclassification of health-related quality of life changes that can adversely affect clinical decision making.

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Emily H. Gabriel, Nicole C. Sibert, and Cameron J. Powden

Clinical Scenario: A common rehabilitation goal after an acute lateral ankle sprain is the management of swelling. Traditionally, ice, elevation, and compression are used to manage swelling to create an optimal healing environment. It has been proposed that alternative interventions, such as kinesiology therapeutic (KT) tape, could be used to reduce swelling following acute ankle injury. Clinical Question: Is the application of KT tape an effective modality to address swelling after acute lateral ankle sprains? Summary of Key Findings: A systematic search was completed to identify articles that examined the impact of KT tape on swelling after an acute ankle sprain. A total of 206 articles were retrieved. Three articles were identified that compared KT tape with other interventions in the management of swelling due to acute ankle sprain. All 3 included studies had high critical appraisal scores using the Physiotherapy Evidence Database scale. Clinical Bottom Line: The current evidence suggests that KT tape may have comparable effects on swelling to elastic bandages when both were used in combination with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. However, when compared with a sham intervention or when used in combination with acupuncture, the use of KT tape had no effects on swelling. Together, these findings indicate that KT tape has limited to no clinical utility to reduce swelling following an acute lateral ankle sprain. Strength of Recommendation: Based on the Strength of Recommendation Taxonomy, the clinical bottom line is based on grade B evidence.

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Connor A. Burton, Robert J. Arthur, Matthew J. Rivera, and Cameron J. Powden

Context: Chronic ankle instability (CAI) is one of the most common chronic conditions in the world, resulting in millions of dollars contributed to the health care system. Joint mobilizations have been shown to effectively improve patient and disease-specific impairments secondary to CAI. The ability for patients to complete an effective manual therapy intervention without the need for continuous visits to a health care provider can alleviate burdens on the health care system and improve patient satisfaction. Objective: To examine the effect of clinician-applied Maitland talocrural joint mobilization and self-mobilization (Self-Mob) on dorsiflexion range of motion (DFROM), dynamic balance, strength, and perceived function in those with CAI. Design: Single-blind randomized trial. Setting: Research laboratory. Participants: A total of 18 participants (7 males and 11 females; age = 20.78 [2.02] y, height = 67.66 [3.83] cm, limb length = 87.74 [5.05] cm) with self-reported CAI participated. Interventions: The participants received 6 interventions over a 2-week period. The participants received either Maitland grade III anterior-to-posterior talocrural joint mobilizations or weight-bearing lunge Self-Mob. Each intervention consisted of four 2-minute sets, with a 1-minute rest between sets. Main Outcome Measures: The DFROM (weight-bearing lunge), dynamic balance (Y-Balance Test), isometric strength, Foot and Ankle Ability Measure Quick, Disablement of the Physically Active modified, Fear Avoidance Beliefs Questionnaire, and Tampa Scale of Kinesiophobia-11 were measured preintervention and postintervention. Results: Dynamic balance, isometric strength, and perceived function significantly improved in both groups at postintervention. The DFROM significantly improved in the Self-Mob group. Higher individual responder rates were demonstrated within the Self-Mob group compared with clinician-applied mobilizations. Conclusions: Clinician-applied mobilizations and Self-Mobs are effective interventions for improving dynamic balance, isometric strength, and perceived function. Application of Self-Mobs can effectively improve DFROM compared with joint mobilization. Self-Mobs may be an effective intervention to incorporate into a home care plan.

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Steven J. Smith and Cameron J. Powden

Ensuring ankle stability while allowing for functional movement is important when returning patients to physical activity and attempting to prevent injury. The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of the TayCo external and a lace-up ankle brace on lower extremity function, dynamic balance, and motion in 18 physically active participants. Significantly greater range of motion was demonstrated for the TayCo brace compared with the lace-up brace for dorsiflexion and plantar flexion, as well as less range of motion for the TayCo brace compared to the lace-up brace for inversion and eversion. The TayCo brace provided restricted frontal plane motion while allowing increased sagittal plane motion without impacting performance measures.

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Kelley E. Farwell, Cameron J. Powden, Meaghan R. Powell, Cailee W. McCarty, and Matthew C. Hoch

Clinical Scenario:

Ankle injuries constitute a large number of injuries sustained by adolescent athletes participating in high school athletics. Prophylactic ankle bracing may be an effective and efficient method to reduce the incidence of ankle injuries in adolescent athletes in the secondary-school setting.

Clinical Question:

Do prophylactic ankle braces reduce the incidence of acute ankle injuries in adolescent athletes?

Summary of Key Findings:

Two of the three included studies reported that prophylactic ankle braces reduced the incidence of ankle injuries compared with no ankle bracing.

Clinical Bottom Line:

There is moderate evidence to support the use of prophylactic ankle braces in adolescent athletes, particularly those who participate in football and basketball, to reduce the incidence of acute ankle injuries.

Strength of Recommendation:

Grade B evidence exists that prophylactic ankle braces reduce the incidence of acute ankle injuries in adolescent athletes.