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  • Author: Stephanie L. Stephens x
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Holly M. Bush, Justin M. Stanek, Joshua D. Wooldridge, Stephanie L. Stephens, and Jessica S. Barrack

Context: Limited dorsiflexion (DF) range of motion (ROM) is commonly observed in both the athletic and general populations and is a predisposing factor for lower extremity injury. Graston Technique® (GT) is a form of instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM), used commonly to increase ROM. Evidence of the long-term effects of GT on ROM is lacking, particularly comparing the full GT protocol versus IASTM alone. Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness of 6 sessions of the GT or IASTM compared with a control (CON) group for increasing closed-chain DF ROM. Design: Cohort design with randomization. Setting: Athletic training clinic. Patients or OtherParticipants: A total of 23 physically active participants (37 limbs) with <34° of DF. Participants’ limbs were randomly allocated to the GT, IASTM, or CON group. Intervention: Participants’ closed-chain DF ROM (standing and kneeling) were assessed at baseline and 24–48 hours following their sixth treatment. Participants in the CON group were measured at baseline and 3 weeks later. The intervention groups received 6 treatments during a 3-week period, whereas the CON group received no treatment. The GT group received a warm-up, instrument application, stretching, and strengthening of the triceps surae. The IASTM group received a warm-up and instrument application. Main Outcome Measures: Closed-chain DF was assessed with a digital inclinometer in standing and kneeling. Results: A significant difference between groups was found in the standing position (P = .03) but not in kneeling (P = .15). Post hoc testing showed significant improvements in DF in standing following the GT compared with the control (P = .02). Conclusions: The GT significantly increases ankle DF following 6 treatments in participants with DF ROM deficits; however, no differences were found between GT and IASTM. The GT may be an effective intervention for clinicians to consider when treating patients with DF deficits.

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Lauren J. Lattimer, Joel L. Lanovaz, Jonathan P. Farthing, Stéphanie Madill, Soo Kim, Stephen Robinovitch, and Cathy Arnold

The purposes of this study were to examine female age differences in: (1) upper extremity (UE) and trunk muscle activity, elbow joint moment, loading force, and UE energy absorption during a controlled forward body descent; and (2) UE muscle strength. Twenty young (mean 24.8 ± 3.4 years) and 20 older (68.4 ± 5.7 years) women were assessed via dynamometry for isometric, concentric, and eccentric UE strength and performed forward descents on force plates at three body lean angles (60°, 45°, and 30° from horizontal). Significant differences (p < .05) were found for muscle strength, biomechanics, and muscle activity. Concentric UE strength averaged 15% lower in older women. At 30° body lean, older women absorbed less energy. Older women had greater biceps brachii activation and less external oblique activation at all body lean angles. Age differences in muscle strength, activation, and energy absorption may contribute to fall-related injury risk.