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John Goetschius, Mark A. Feger, Jay Hertel and Joseph M. Hart

Context: Measurements of center-of-pressure (COP) excursions during balance are common practice in clinical and research settings to evaluate adaptations in postural control due to pathological or environmental conditions. Traditionally measured using laboratory force plates, pressure-mat devices may be a suitable option for clinicians and scientist to measure COP excursions. Objective: Compare COP measures and changes during balance between MatScan® pressure mat and force plate. Design: Validation study. Setting: Laboratory. Participants: 30 healthy, young adults (19 female, 11 male, 22.7 ± 3.4 y, 70.3 ± SD kg, 1.71 ± 0.09 m). Main Outcomes: COP excursions were simultaneously measured using pressure-mat and force-plate devices. Participants completed 3 eyes-open and 3 eyes-closed single-leg balance trials (10 s). Mean of the 3 trials was used to calculate 4 COP variables: medial-lateral and anterior-posterior excursion, total distance, and area with eyes open and eyes closed. Percent change and effect sizes were calculated between eyes-open to eyes-closed conditions for each variable and for both devices. Results: All COP variables were highly correlated between devices for eyes-open and eyes-closed conditions (all r > .92, P < .001). Bland-Altman plots suggest the pressure-mat COP measurements were smaller than those of the force-plate, and the differences between devices appeared to increase as the measurement magnitude increased. Percent change in COP variables was highly correlated between devices (r > .85, P < .001). Cohen d effect sizes between eyes-open and eyes-closed were all large (d > 2.25) and similar in magnitude between devices. Conclusion: COP measures were correlated between devices, but values tended to be smaller using the pressure mat. The pressure mat and force plate detected comparable magnitude changes in COP measurements between eyes-open and eyes-closed. Pressure mats may provide a viable option for detecting large magnitude changes in postural control during short-duration testing.

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Melissa DiFabio, Lindsay V. Slater, Grant Norte, John Goetschius, Joseph M. Hart and Jay Hertel

Context: After ACL reconstruction (ACLR), deficits are often assessed using a variety of functional tests, which can be time consuming. It is unknown whether these tests provide redundant or unique information. Objective: To explore relationships between components of a battery of functional tests, the Lower Extremity Assessment Protocol (LEAP) was created to aid in developing the most informative, concise battery of tests for evaluating ACLR patients. Design: Descriptive, cross-sectional. Setting: Laboratory. Participants: 76 ACLR patients (6.86±3.07 months postoperative) and 54 healthy participants. Intervention: Isokinetic knee flexion and extension at 90 and 180 degrees/second, maximal voluntary isometric contraction for knee extension and flexion, single leg balance, 4 hopping tasks (single, triple, crossover, and 6-meter timed hop), and a bilateral drop vertical jump that was scored with the Landing Error Scoring System (LESS). Main Outcome Measures: Peak torque, average torque, average power, total work, fatigue indices, center of pressure area and velocity, hop distance and time, and LESS score. A series of factor analyses were conducted to assess grouping of functional tests on the LEAP for each limb in the ACLR and healthy groups and limb symmetry indices (LSI) for both groups. Correlations were run between measures that loaded on retained factors. Results: Isokinetic and isometric strength tests for knee flexion and extension, hopping, balance, and fatigue index were identified as unique factors for all limbs. The LESS score loaded with various factors across the different limbs. The healthy group LSI analysis produced more factors than the ACLR LSI analysis. Individual measures within each factor had moderate to strong correlations. Isokinetic and isometric strength, hopping, balance, and fatigue index provided unique information. Conclusions: Within each category of measures, not all tests may need to be included for a comprehensive functional assessment of ACLR patients due to the high amount of shared variance between them.

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Brice Guignard, Annie Rouard, Didier Chollet, Marco Bonifazi, Dario Dalla Vedova, John Hart and Ludovic Seifert

Swimming is a challenging locomotion, involving the coordination of upper and lower limbs to propel the body forward in a highly resistive aquatic environment. During front crawl, freestyle stroke, alternating rotational motion of the upper limbs above and below the waterline, is coordinated with alternating lower limb pendulum actions. The aim of this study was to investigate the upper to lower limbs coordination dynamics of eight male elite front crawlers while increasing swimming speed and disturbing the aquatic environment (i.e., pool vs. flume). Upper to lower limb frequency ratios, coordination, coupling strength, and asymmetry were computed from data collected by inertial measurement units. Significant speed effect was observed, leading to transitions from 1∶1 to 1∶3 frequency ratios (1∶3 overrepresented), whereas 1∶2 frequency ratio was rarely used. Flume swimming led to a significant lower coupling strength at low speeds and higher asymmetries, especially at the highest speeds, probably related to the flume dynamic environment.

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Michael L. Alosco, Krysten Knecht, Ellen Glickman, John Gunstad, Michael Bergeron and Joe Hart

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Ian J. Dempsey, Grant E. Norte, Matthew Hall, John Goetschius, Lindsay V. Slater, Jourdan M. Cancienne, Brian C. Werner, David R. Diduch and Joseph M. Hart

Context: Postoperative rehabilitation is critical to optimize outcomes after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR). However, the relationship between physical therapy (PT) and clinical outcomes is unclear. Objective: To describe PT characteristics following ACLR and to assess the relationships between PT characteristics, surgical procedure, and clinical outcomes. Design: Cross-sectional. Setting: Laboratory. Patients (or Other Participants): A total of 60 patients (31 females/29 males, age = 22.4 [9.2] y, height = 171.7 [9.9] cm, and mass = 70.2 [14.7] kg) with a history of primary unilateral ACLR (53.6% patellar tendon and 46.4% hamstring) participated. Intervention(s): Patients completed a performance assessment and rated subjective knee function prior to physician clearance (mean = 6.3 [1.3] mo postoperatively) and were contacted within 6 months of clearance to complete a PT questionnaire. Main Outcome Measures: PT questionnaire item response, knee extension maximum voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC) torque, peak isokinetic knee extension torque, single leg hop distance, and International Knee Documentation Committee were measured. Correlations assessed relationships between PT quantity and clinical outcomes. Independent t tests compared PT quantity and clinical outcomes based on return-to-sport status, readiness to return to sport, and surgical procedure. Results: Patients completed regular PT (2 d/wk, 25 wk, 58 visits) and were most likely to conclude when discharged by the therapist (68.3%). More than half (56.7%) returned to sport, yet most (73.3%) felt unready at discharge. Isokinetic torque was correlated with days of PT/week (r = .29, P = .03). Isokinetic torque and hop symmetry were reduced in patients who returned to sport (P < .05). Patients who felt ready to return completed fewer weeks of PT (P < .05). Patients with a patellar tendon graft completed more days of PT/week and total visits, but demonstrated lower MVIC torque, MVIC symmetry, and isokinetic symmetry (P < .05). Conclusions: Many patients felt unready to return to sport at PT discharge. PT frequency was associated with isokinetic torque, yet this relationship was small. Outcomes were reduced in patients who returned to sport, suggesting premature resumption of preinjury activity.