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Neal R. Glaviano and Susan Saliba

Objective: Evaluate the relationship between subjective knee function and lower-extremity strength in individuals with patellofemoral pain (PFP). Design: Cohort. Setting: Laboratory. Participants: Participants were 30 individuals with PFP (20 females and 10 males; 76.02 [17.88] kg, 173.04 [7.58] cm, and 24.9 [7] y). Main Outcome Measures: Subjects completed the Activities of Daily Living Scale (ADLS) and had lower-extremity hip and knee isometric strength assessed. Strength was compared between low and high subjective functioning ADLS groups. Correlations for strength and subjective function were assessed, with a linear regression utilized to determine if strength predicted subjective function. Results: Quadriceps strength was significantly greater in the high subjective function group (38.5 [13.9] percent body mass) than in the low subjective function group (27.88 [8.96] percent body mass, P = .02). Significant correlations were seen between the ADLS and all 5 lower-extremity strength measures (r = .376–.535). Quadriceps strength was a strong predictor of subjective function in those with PFP, explaining 28.6% of the total variance in the ADLS. Conclusions: Quadriceps strength was a strong predictor of subjective function when assessed by the ADLS in patients with PFP and significantly greater in those with higher subjective function. A strong relationship exists between self-reported function and lower-extremity strength, suggesting the need to evaluate and treat lower-extremity weakness.

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Theodore Croy, Susan Saliba, Ethan Saliba, Mark W. Anderson and Jay Hertel

Introduction:

Quantifying talocrural joint laxity after ankle sprain is problematic. Stress ultrasonography (US) can image the lateral talocrural joint and allow the measurement of the talofibular interval, which may suggest injury to the anterior talofibular ligament (ATFL). The acute talofibular interval changes after lateral ankle sprain are unknown.

Methods:

Twenty-five participants (9 male, 16 female; age 21.8 ± 3.2 y, height 167.8 ± 34.1 cm, mass 72.7 ± 13.8 kg) with 27 acute, lateral ankle injuries underwent bilateral stress US imaging at baseline (<7 d) and on the affected ankle at 3 wk and 6 wk from injury in 3 ankle conditions: neutral, anterior drawer, and inversion. Talofibular interval (mm) was measured using imaging software and self-reported function (activities of daily living [ADL] and sports) by the Foot and Ankle Ability Measure (FAAM).

Results:

The talofibular interval increased with anterior-drawer stress in the involved ankle (22.65 ± 3.75 mm; P = .017) over the uninvolved ankle (19.45 ± 2.35 mm; limb × position F 1,26 = 4.9, P = .035) at baseline. Inversion stress also resulted in greater interval changes (23.41 ± 2.81 mm) than in the uninvolved ankles (21.13 ± 2.08 mm). A main effect for time was observed for inversion (F 2,52 = 4.3, P = .019, 21.93 ± 2.24 mm) but not for anterior drawer (F 2,52 = 3.1, P = .055, 21.18 ± 2.34 mm). A significant reduction in the talofibular interval took place between baseline and week 3 inversion measurements only (F 1,26 = 5.6, P = .026). FAAM-ADL and sports results increased significantly from baseline to wk 3 (21.9 ± 16.2, P < .0001 and 23.8 ± 16.9, P < .0001) and from wk 3 to wk 6 (2.5 ± 4.4, P = .009 and 10.5 ± 13.2, P = .001).

Conclusions:

Stress US methods identified increased talofibular interval changes suggestive of talocrural laxity and ATFL injury using anterior drawer and inversion stress that, despite significant improvements in self-reported function, only marginally improved during the 6 wk after ankle sprain. Stress US provides a safe, repeatable, and quantifiable method of measuring the talofibular interval and may augment manual stress examinations in acute ankle injuries.

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Neal R. Glaviano, Noelle M. Selkow, Ethan Saliba, Jay Hertel and Susan Saliba

Context:

Iontophoresis is a method of administering medications transcutaneously using galvanic current. Dose is the product of current amplitude and treatment duration. It is assumed that higher doses of iontophoresis are more effective in delivering medication, yet research supporting this claim is insufficient.

Objective:

To compare high-dose lidocaine iontophoresis (80 mA-min), standard-dose lidocaine iontophoresis (40 mA-min), and 2 sham treatments indirectly by measuring skin anesthesia.

Design:

Double-blind crossover study.

Setting:

Research laboratory.

Participants:

15 healthy volunteers (10 women, 5 men: age 24.06 ± 2 y, height 169.7 ± 8.3 cm, weight 72.5 ± 14.2 kg).

Intervention:

Four treatments were counterbalanced and applied on the anterior forearm: 2 true interventions (40 and 80 mA-min) and 2 sham interventions separated by at least 24 h. The true-intervention doses were applied at a current of 2 mA with 2.5 ml 2% lidocaine HCL for 20 and 40 min. The sham treatments were 2.5 ml of lidocaine without galvanic current (intensity = 0 mA, 40 min) and 2.5 ml of saline solution (galvanic current of 2 mA for 40 min).

Main Outcome Measures:

Semmes-Weinstein monofilament scores were taken preintervention and postintervention (at 0, 20, 40, and 60 min) to measure skin anesthesia.

Results:

A significant interaction between treatment and time (F = 4.137, P < .01) was identified. The 40-mA-min dose produced greater anesthesia than the lidocaine and saline shams at all times. The 80-mA-min dose produced greater anesthesia than saline sham at all times. There was a significant difference noted, with 40 mA-min over 80 mA-min, at the 20-min posttest, but there were no other significant differences between the 40- and 80-mA-min doses at 0, 40, or 60 min posttreatment or between the 2 sham treatments at any time.

Conclusions:

The 40-mA-min treatment was just as effective as the 80-mA-min treatment, suggesting that shorter treatments may be more time efficient for clinicians and patients.

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Brandon Warner, Kyung-Min Kim, Joseph M. Hart and Susan Saliba

Context:

Quadriceps function improves after application of focal joint cooling or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation to the knee in patients with arthrogenic muscle inhibition (AMI), yet it is not known whether superficial heat is able to produce a similar effect.

Objective:

To determine quadriceps function after superficial heat to the knee joint in individuals with AMI.

Design:

Single blinded randomized crossover.

Setting:

Laboratory.

Patients:

12 subjects (4 female, 8 males; 25.6 ± 7.7 y, 177.2 ± 12.7 cm, 78.4 ± 18.2 kg) with a history of knee-joint pathology and AMI, determined with a quadriceps central activation ratio (CAR) of <90%.

Intervention:

3 treatment conditions for 15 min on separate days: superficial heat using a cervical moist-heat pack (77°C), sham using a cervical moist pack (room temperature at about 24°C), and control (no treatment). All subjects received all treatment conditions in a randomized order.

Main Outcome Measures:

Central activation ratio and knee-extension torque during maximal voluntary isometric contraction with the knee flexed to 60° were collected at pre, immediately post, 30 min post, and 45 min posttreatment. Skin temperature of the quadriceps and knee and room temperature were also recorded at the same time points.

Results:

Three (treatment conditions) by 4 (time) repeated ANOVAs found that there were no significant interactions or main effects in either CAR or knee-extension torque (all P > .05). Skin-temperature 1-way ANOVAs revealed that the skin temperature in the knee during superficial heat was significantly higher than other treatment conditions at all time points (P < .05).

Conclusions:

Superficial heat to the knee joint using a cervical moist-heat pack did not influence quadriceps function in individuals with AMI in the quadriceps.

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Mark A. Sutherlin, L. Colby Mangum, Jay Hertel, Susan A. Saliba and Joseph M. Hart

Ultrasound imaging has been used to assess muscle function of deeper muscles and to compare individuals with and without low back pain. These measures may be influenced by numerous factors requiring normalization for these comparisons. The purpose of this study was to assess anthropometric normalization variables with muscle thickness of the transversus abdominis and lumbar multifidus across multiple ultrasound testing positions. Numerous anthropometric variables were correlated with muscle thickness. Mass, body mass index, and height times mass show the best promise for normalization, but were not consistent for the transversus abdominis and lumbar multifidus muscles. Normalization strategies should be considered when comparing between groups.

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Alexandra F. DeJong, L. Colby Mangum, Jacob E. Resch and Susan A. Saliba

Context: Medial knee displacement (MKD) is a common risk factor for lower-extremity injury and is related to altered gluteal muscle activity. Ultrasound imaging (USI) is a reliable means to explore mechanical muscle activity; however, no information exists regarding USI of the gluteals during gait in an MKD population. Objective: To determine differences in USI gluteal muscle activity during gait in individuals with and without MKD. Design: Descriptive laboratory study. Setting: University research laboratory. Participants: Out of 28 participants, 14 exhibiting MKD unilaterally during a single-leg squat (19.36 [1.51] y, 169.73 [7.50] cm, and 62.01 [10.57] kg; 10 females) and 14 matched non-MKD subjects (20.29 [1.73] y, 167.24 [9.07] cm, and 67.53 [16.03] kg). Interventions: Bilateral B-mode USI of the gluteus maximus (Gmax) and gluteus medius (Gmed) muscles during quiet stance, heel strike, and a 10-second treadmill walking clip. Main Outcome Measures: Gluteal thickness measures normalized to quiet stance yielded activity ratios, and percentage of muscle thickness change was assessed between heel strike and quiet stance. Differences between groups were assessed with Cohen’s d effect sizes with 95% confidence intervals. Activity ratios with 90% confidence intervals plotted on 10% intervals from 0% to 100% of gait were used to compare groups and limbs. A subsample of images was measured to determine intertester reliability. Results: USI revealed decreased Gmax and Gmed percent change at heel strike (%change = −9.57% [7.15%] and −8.76% [4.26%], respectively). The MKD limb compared with the contralateral limb exhibited decreased Gmed activity ratio at 30% of gait (MKD = 0.89 [0.056]; non-MKD = 1.01 [.052]). Intertester reliability was excellent for gluteus maximus (intraclass correlation coefficient = .987 [.014]) and Gmed (intraclass correlation coefficient = .989 [.013]) measurements. Conclusions: USI highlighted gluteal activity differences of MKD limbs during gait, which may contribute to inadequate hip stabilization during this daily repetitive task. These findings potentiate the use of USI as an intervention- or screening-based visual tool.

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Kevin M. Cross, Kelly K. Gurka, Susan Saliba, Mark Conaway and Jay Hertel

Context: Thigh muscle strains are among the most common injuries in high school soccer for both males and females. Similar results have been reported among college soccer players, specifically for hamstring strains. In college soccer, males have a higher injury rate than women, although they share common injury characteristics. Currently, no studies exist comparing the injury rate or injury characteristics of thigh muscle strains between sexes playing high school soccer. Objective: To compare thigh muscle strain injury rates and injury event characteristics among sexes participating in high school soccer. Design: Descriptive epidemiology study. Setting: A total of 100 nationally representative high schools that participated in the High School Sports-Related Injury Surveillance System, Reporting Information Online. Participants: High school soccer athletes who had a thigh muscle strain. Main Outcome Measures: Injury rates of thigh muscle strains were calculated between sexes. The occurrence of the following variables during a thigh muscle injury was compared between sexes: grade level, age, level of play, event type, time of practice, time of competition, basic injury mechanism, soccer activity, player position, field location, practice type, and time of season. Results: Males had a lower injury rate of thigh muscle strains during competition than females (rate ratio = 0.66; 95% confidence interval, 0.47–0.93). No differences between sexes existed in the distribution of first-time or recurrent event characteristics. When combining sexes, recurrent strains (93%) occurred more frequently on the offensive side of the field than first-time strains (59%), P < .001. The majority of strains occurred among the varsity players (71%), during running activities (60%) and practices (58%). Conclusions: Males were less likely to sustain a thigh muscle strain during competitions, but no other differences existed between sexes. The events surrounding all thigh muscle strains may be described with some common properties. Consideration of these characteristics may assist in the development of preventive and rehabilitative programs as well as direct future research on thigh muscle strains among high school soccer players.

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Grant E. Norte, Jay N. Hertel, Susan A. Saliba, David R. Diduch and Joseph M. Hart

Context: Assessment of physical function for individuals after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACL-R) is complex and warrants the use of diverse evaluation strategies. To maximize the efficiency of assessment, there is a need to identify tests that provide the most meaningful information about this population. Objective: To investigate underlying constructs of quadriceps muscle function that uniquely describe aspects of performance in patients after ACL-R and establish clinical thresholds for measures able to classify patients with and without ACL-R. Design: Cross-sectional. Setting: Research laboratory. Patients (or Other Participants): Seventy-two patients with a primary, unilateral ACL-R (32 males and 40 females, age = 26.0 [9.3] y, time since surgery = 46.5 [58.0] mo) and 30 healthy controls (12 males and 18 females, age = 22.7 [4.6] y). Intervention(s): Quadriceps function was assessed bilaterally during 1 study visit. Main Outcome Measures: Isokinetic strength (peak torque, total work, and average power) at 90° and 180°/s, maximal voluntary isometric contraction torque, fatigue index, central activation ratio, Hoffmann reflex, and active motor threshold. Principal component analyses were performed for the involved limb, contralateral limb, and limb symmetry. Receiver–operator characteristic curve analyses were conducted to determine the diagnostic utility of each variable. Binary logistic regression was used to predict group membership (ACL-R vs healthy). Results: Three components of peripheral, central, and combined (peripheral and central) muscle function were identified, explaining 70.7% to 80.5% of variance among measures of quadriceps function. Total knee-extensor work at 90°/s (≥18.4 J/kg), active motor threshold (≥39.5%), and central activation ratio (≥94.7%) of the involved limb were strong predictors of patient status and correctly classified 83.5% of patients with ACL-R (P < .001). Conclusions: Unique constructs of peripheral, central, and combined muscle function exist in patients with ACL-R. Total knee-extensor work at 90°/s, active motor threshold, and central activation ratio consistently explained a significant portion of variance in measures of quadriceps function, demonstrated acceptable to excellent diagnostic utility, and predicted group membership with 72.8% to 83.5% accuracy.

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Christopher Kuenze, Jay Hertel, Susan Saliba, David R. Diduch, Arthur Weltman and Joseph M. Hart

Context:

Normal, symmetrical quadriceps strength is a common clinical goal after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR). Currently, the clinical thresholds for acceptable unilateral quadriceps function and symmetry associated with positive outcomes after return to activity are unclear.

Objective:

To establish quadriceps-activation and knee-extension-torque cutoffs for clinical assessment after return to activity after ACLR.

Design:

Descriptive laboratory study.

Setting:

Laboratory.

Patients:

22 (10 female, 12 male; age = 22.5 ± 5.0 y, height = 172.9 ± 7.1 cm, mass = 74.1 ± 15.5 kg, months since surgery = 31.5 ± 23.5) recreationally active persons with a history of unilateral, primary ACLR at least 6 months prior and 24 (12 female/12 male, age = 21.7 ± 3.6 y, height = 168.0 ± 8.8 cm, mass = 69.3 ± 13.6 kg) recreationally active healthy participants.

Main Outcome Measures:

Patient-reported measures of pain, knee-related function, and physical activity level were recorded for all participants. Normalized knee-extension maximum-voluntary-isometric-contraction (MVIC) torque (Nm/kg) and quadriceps central-activation ratio (CAR, %) were measured bilaterally in all participants. Receiver-operator-characteristic (ROC) curves were used to establish thresholds for unilateral measures of normalized knee-extension MVIC torque and quadriceps CAR, as well as limb-symmetry indices (LSI). ROC curves then established clinical thresholds for normalized knee-extension MVIC torque and quadriceps CAR LSIs associated with healthy knee-related function.

Results:

Involved-quadriceps CAR above 89.3% was the strongest unilateral indicator of healthy-group membership, while quadriceps CAR LSI above 0.996 and knee-extension MVIC torque above 0.940 were the strongest overall indicators. Unilateral normalized knee-extension MVIC torque above 3.00 Nm/kg and quadriceps CAR LSI above 0.992 were the best indicators of good patient-reported knee-related outcomes.

Conclusions:

Threshold values established in this study may provide a guide for clinicians when making return-to-activity decisions after ACLR. Normalized knee-extension MVIC torque (>3.00 Nm/kg) and quadriceps CAR symmetry (>99.6%) are both strong indicators of good patient-reported outcomes after ACLR.

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Alyssa Muething, Shellie Acocello, Kimberly A. Pritchard, Stephen F. Brockmeier, Susan A. Saliba and Joseph M. Hart

Context:

Understanding how muscles activate in a population with a previous glenohumeral-joint (GH) injury may help clinicians understand how to build a conservative treatment plan to strengthen or activate the specific muscles in an attempt to reduce recurrent shoulder injury and development of GH laxity.

Objective:

To investigate muscle-activation differences between the previously injured limb of individuals with a history of GH-joint injury and healthy matched controls during functional isometric contractions.

Design:

Case control.

Setting:

University research laboratory.

Participants:

17 individuals (8 women, 9 men; age 22.3 ± 2.6 y, height 172.4 ± 8.8 cm, mass 75.4 ± 16.5 kg) with previous unilateral shoulder pain and 17 (8 women, 9 men; age 22.9 ± 3.9 y, height 170.9 ± 11.3 cm, mass 73.6 ± 22.9 kg) with no history of shoulder pain or injury.

Intervention(s):

Diagnostic ultrasound measurements of the supraspinatus were completed in both resting and contracted states to assess changes in muscle thickness. Manual muscle tests (anterior deltoid, upper trapezius, infraspinatus, lower trapezius, serratus anterior) and functional isometric contractions (forward flexion, scaption, abduction) were measured using electromyography.

Main Outcome Measures:

Peak, normalized activation of each muscle and supraspinatus thickness activation ratio were compared between groups and bilaterally within groups using separate ANOVAs.

Results:

The anterior deltoid was significantly less activated during all functional isometric tasks in previously injured subjects than in healthy subjects (P = .024). In previously injured subjects, the involved limb-lower trapezius was significantly less activated during scaption and abduction tasks than the contralateral side (P = .022 and P = .031, respectively).

Conclusions:

There were decreases in muscle activation in the anterior deltoid between previously injured and healthy people, as well as in the lower trapezius, in previously injured subjects. Understanding the source of muscle-activation deficits can help clinicians focus rehabilitation exercises on specific muscles.