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Caroline Lisee, Lindsay Slater, Jay Hertel, and Joe M. Hart

Context: Strength, functional performance, and limb symmetry are common objective clinical assessments used by clinicians to guide safe return to physical activity following injury. Population-specific unilateral limb outcomes or estimates of limb symmetry of these assessments should be established. Objective: To compare lower-extremity strength, functional performance, and limb symmetry in healthy participants based on sex and level of activity. Design: Descriptive laboratory study. Setting: Laboratory. Participants: A total of 117 healthy participants (72 males and 45 females; mass = 73.67 [13.60] kg, height = 1.76 [0.12] m, and age = 21.44 [2.92] y) without history of injury within 6 months were included. Interventions: Participants completed isokinetic concentric and isometric knee extension and flexion strength tasks at 90°/s, 180°/s, and 90°, respectively, and 4 hop tasks (single, cross-over, triple, and 6-m timed) during 1 session. Groups were separated by sex (male and female) and activity level (athlete and nonathlete). Participants rostered on National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I (DI) teams were considered as athletes, and non-NCAA DI healthy, uninjured participants were considered as nonathletes. Main Outcome Measures: Limb symmetry index (LSI), maximal voluntary isometric contraction (N·m/kg), peak torque (N·m/kg), average power (N·m/s), distance (m), and time hopped (s) were assessed. LSI was calculated by dividing the lower limb outcome by the higher limb outcome of the nondominant or dominant limb. Group differences were assessed through Mann–Whitney U tests and Cohen’s d effect sizes for all comparisons. Results: LSI differences did not exist between groups. Mean LSIs for all participants ranged between 83.52% (12.54%) and 96.16% (3.82%). On average, males were stronger (range: d = 0.63–1.54), hopped farther (range: d = 1.52–1.63), and hopped faster (range: d = 1.67–1.68) than females. On average, some strength differences existed between athletes and nonathletes, but athletes hopped farther (range: d = 0.71–0.82) and faster (range: d = 0.87–0.88) than nonathletes. Conclusions: Unilateral limb strength and functional performance outcomes differ between sex and activity level, but not limb symmetry. These differences may be important for a clinician’s understanding of normative values of common return-to-play assessment tasks.

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Christopher Kuenze, Lisa Cadmus-Bertram, Karin Pfieffer, Stephanie Trigsted, Dane Cook, Caroline Lisee, and David Bell

Context: Reductions in objectively measured moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) have been reported among individuals with anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR). Self-reported measures of physical activity are commonly used to assess participation in physical activity after ACLR despite the lack of evidence to support the validity of such measures within this population. Objective: The objective of this research was to determine the relationships between objectively measured MVPA, self-reported physical activity, and knee function among individuals with ACLR. Setting: University laboratory. Patients (or Other Participants): Thirty-one participants with a history of ACLR (sex: 23 females and 8 males; age = 19.8 [1.4] y) and 31 matched controls (sex: 23 females and 8 males; age = 20.6 [1.7] y) enrolled in this study. Intervention(s): None. Main Outcome Measures: Participants completed self-reported physical activity using the Tegner Activity Scale and the Marx Activity Rating Scale. Participant MVPA was objectively measured using an ActiGraph wGT3X-BT accelerometer for a 7-day period during which the monitor was worn for not less than 10 hours per day. Primary outcome measures were the amount of time spent in MVPA (minutes per week) and time spent in MVPA performed in bouts of ≥10 minutes (minutes per week). Relationships between the Tegner Activity Score, Marx Activity Rating Scale, and objectively measured MVPA variables were assessed using partial Spearman’s rank correlation coefficients after controlling for activity monitor wear time. Results: There were no significant relationships between objectively measured MVPA and self-reported physical activity (ρ ≤ 0.31, P ≥ .05) or self-reported knee-related function (ρ ≤ .41, P ≥ .05) among ACLR participants. Conclusions: Objectively measured physical activity is not significantly related to self-reported physical activity or self-reported knee function among individuals with a history of ACLR. Consideration of objective and self-reported physical activity within this population may provide key insights into disconnects between perception and the reality of physical activity engagement following ACLR.

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Caroline Lisee, Tom Birchmeier, Arthur Yan, Brent Geers, Kaitlin O’Hagan, Callum Davis, and Christopher Kuenze

Context: Landing kinetic outcomes are associated with injury risk and may be persistently altered after anterior cruciate ligament injury or reconstruction. However, it is challenging to assess kinetics clinically. The relationship between sound characteristics and kinetics during a limited number of functional tasks has been supported as a potential clinical alternative. Objective: To assess the relationship between kinetics and sound characteristics during a single-leg landing task. Design: Observational Setting: Laboratory. Participants: There was total of 26 healthy participants (15 males/11 females, age = 24.8 [3.6] y, height = 176.0 [9.1] cm, mass = 74.9 [14.4] kg, Tegner Activity Scale = 6.1 [1.1]). Intervention: Participants completed single-leg landings onto a force plate while audio characteristics were recorded. Main Outcome Measures: Peak vertical ground reaction force, linear loading rate, instantaneous loading rate, peak sound magnitude, sound frequency were measured. Means and SDs were calculated for each participant’s individual limbs. Spearman rho correlations were used to assess the relationships between audio characteristics and kinetic outcomes. Results: Peak sound magnitude was positively correlated with normalized peak vertical ground reaction force (ρ = .486, P = .001); linear loading rate (ρ = .491, P = .001); and instantaneous loading rate (ρ = .298, P = .03). Sound frequency was negatively correlated with instantaneous loading rate (ρ = −.444, P = .001). Conclusions: Peak sound magnitude may be more helpful in providing feedback about an individual’s normalized vertical ground reaction force and linear loading rate, and sound frequency may be more helpful in providing feedback about instantaneous loading rate. Further refinement in sound measurement techniques may be required before these findings can be applied in a clinical population.

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Caroline Lisee, Melanie L. McGrath, Christopher Kuenze, Ming Zhang, Matt Salzler, Jeffrey B. Driban, and Matthew S. Harkey

Context: Ultrasound imaging is a clinically feasible tool to assess femoral articular cartilage and may have utility in tracking early knee osteoarthritis development. Traditional assessment techniques focus on measurements at a single location, which can be challenging to adopt for novice raters. Objective: To introduce a novel semiautomated ultrasound segmentation technique and determine the intrarater and interrater reliability of average regional femoral articular cartilage thickness and echo intensity of a novice and expert rater. Design: Descriptive observational study. Setting: Orthopedic clinic. Patients or Other Participants: Fifteen participants (mean [SD]; age 23.5 [4.6] y, height = 172.6 [9.3] cm, mass = 79.8 [15.7] kg) with a unilateral history of anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction participated. Intervention: None. Main Outcome Measures: One rater captured anterior femoral cartilage images of the participants’ contralateral knees using a transverse suprapatellar ultrasound assessment. The total femoral cartilage cross-sectional area of each image was segmented by a novice and expert rater. A novel custom program automatically separated the cartilage segmentations into medial, lateral, and intercondylar regions to determine the cross-sectional area and cartilage length. The average cartilage thickness in each region was calculated by dividing the cross-sectional area by the cartilage length. Echo intensity was calculated as the average gray-scale pixel value of each region. Two-way random effect intraclass correlations coefficient (ICC) for absolute agreement were used to determine the interrater reliability between a novice and expert rater, as well as the intrarater reliability of the novice rater. Results: The novice rater demonstrated excellent intrarater (ICC [2,k] range = .993–.997) and interrater (ICC [2,k] range = .944–.991) reliability with the expert rater of all femoral articular cartilage average thickness and echo intensity regions. Conclusions: The novel semiautomated average cartilage thickness and echo-intensity assessment is efficient, systematic, and reliable between an expert and novice rater with minimal training.