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1.  Pre-cooling for endurance exercise performance in the heat: a systematic review 
BMC Medicine  2012;10:166.
Background
Endurance exercise capacity diminishes under hot environmental conditions. Time to exhaustion can be increased by lowering body temperature prior to exercise (pre-cooling). This systematic literature review synthesizes the current findings of the effects of pre-cooling on endurance exercise performance, providing guidance for clinical practice and further research.
Methods
The MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, Web of Science and SPORTDiscus databases were searched in May 2012 for studies evaluating the effectiveness of pre-cooling to enhance endurance exercise performance in hot environmental conditions (≥ 28°C). Studies involving participants with increased susceptibility to heat strain, cooling during or between bouts of exercise, and protocols where aerobic endurance was not the principle performance outcome were excluded. Potential publications were assessed by two independent reviewers for inclusion and quality. Means and standard deviations of exercise performance variables were extracted or sought from original authors to enable effect size calculations.
Results
In all, 13 studies were identified. The majority of studies contained low participant numbers and/or absence of sample size calculations. Six studies used cold water immersion, four crushed ice ingestion and three cooling garments. The remaining study utilized mixed methods. Large heterogeneity in methodological design and exercise protocols was identified. Effect size calculations indicated moderate evidence that cold water immersion effectively improved endurance performance, and limited evidence that ice slurry ingestion improved performance. Cooling garments were ineffective. Most studies failed to document or report adverse events. Low participant numbers in each study limited the statistical power of certain reported trends and lack of blinding could potentially have introduced either participant or researcher bias in some studies.
Conclusions
Current evidence indicates cold water immersion may be the most effective method of pre-cooling to improve endurance performance in hot conditions, although practicality must be considered. Ice slurry ingestion appears to be the most promising practical alternative. Interestingly, cooling garments appear of limited efficacy, despite their frequent use. Mechanisms behind effective pre-cooling remain uncertain, and optimal protocols have yet to be established. Future research should focus on standardizing exercise performance protocols, recruiting larger participant numbers to enable direct comparisons of effectiveness and practicality for each method, and ensuring potential adverse events are evaluated.
doi:10.1186/1741-7015-10-166
PMCID: PMC3568721  PMID: 23249542
Pacing; thermoregulation; internal cooling; cooling garment; cold water immersion; ice slurry ingestion
2.  The effectiveness of neuromuscular warm-up strategies, that require no additional equipment, for preventing lower limb injuries during sports participation: a systematic review 
BMC Medicine  2012;10:75.
Background
Lower limb injuries in sport are increasingly prevalent and responsible for large economic as well as personal burdens. In this review we seek to determine which easily implemented functional neuromuscular warm-up strategies are effective in preventing lower limb injuries during sports participation and in which sporting groups they are effective.
Methods
Seven electronic databases were searched from inception to January 2012 for studies investigating neuromuscular warm-up strategies and injury prevention. The quality of each included study was evaluated using a modified version of the van Tulder scale. Data were extracted from each study and used to calculate the risk of injury following application of each evaluated strategy.
Results
Nine studies were identified including six randomized controlled trials (RCT) and three controlled clinical trials (CCT). Heterogeneity in study design and warm-up strategies prevented pooling of results. Two studies investigated male and female participants, while the remaining seven investigated women only. Risk Ratio (RR) statistics indicated 'The 11+' prevention strategy significantly reduces overall (RR 0.67, confidence interval (CI) 0.54 to 0.84) and overuse (RR 0.45, CI 0.28 to 0.71) lower limb injuries as well as knee (RR 0.48, CI 0.32 to 0.72) injuries among young amateur female footballers. The 'Knee Injury Prevention Program' (KIPP) significantly reduced the risk of noncontact lower limb (RR 0.5, CI 0.33 to 0.76) and overuse (RR 0.44, CI 0.22 to 0.86) injuries in young amateur female football and basketball players. The 'Prevent Injury and Enhance Performance' (PEP) strategy reduces the incidence of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries (RR 0.18, CI 0.08 to 0.42). The 'HarmoKnee' programme reduces the risk of knee injuries (RR 0.22, CI 0.06 to 0.76) in teenage female footballers. The 'Anterior Knee Pain Prevention Training Programme' (AKP PTP) significantly reduces the incidence of anterior knee pain (RR 0.27, CI 0.14 to 0.54) in military recruits.
Conclusions
Effective implementation of practical neuromuscular warm-up strategies can reduce lower extremity injury incidence in young, amateur, female athletes and male and female military recruits. This is typically a warm-up strategy that includes stretching, strengthening, balance exercises, sports-specific agility drills and landing techniques applied consistently for longer than three consecutive months. In order to optimize these strategies, the mechanisms for their effectiveness require further evaluation.
doi:10.1186/1741-7015-10-75
PMCID: PMC3408383  PMID: 22812375
neuromuscular training; lower limb; injuries; prevention
3.  Lower limb biomechanics during running in individuals with achilles tendinopathy: a systematic review 
Background
Abnormal lower limb biomechanics is speculated to be a risk factor for Achilles tendinopathy. This study systematically reviewed the existing literature to identify, critique and summarise lower limb biomechanical factors associated with Achilles tendinopathy.
Methods
We searched electronic bibliographic databases (Medline, EMBASE, Current contents, CINAHL and SPORTDiscus) in November 2010. All prospective cohort and case-control studies that evaluated biomechanical factors (temporospatial parameters, lower limb kinematics, dynamic plantar pressures, kinetics [ground reaction forces and joint moments] and muscle activity) associated with mid-portion Achilles tendinopathy were included. Quality of included studies was evaluated using the Quality Index. The magnitude of differences (effect sizes) between cases and controls was calculated using Cohen's d (with 95% CIs).
Results
Nine studies were identified; two were prospective and the remaining seven case-control study designs. The quality of 9 identified studies was varied, with Quality Index scores ranging from 4 to 15 out of 17. All studies analysed running biomechanics. Cases displayed increased eversion range of motion of the rearfoot (d = 0.92 and 0.67 in two studies), reduced maximum lower leg abduction (d = -1.16), reduced ankle joint dorsiflexion velocity (d = -0.62) and reduced knee flexion during gait (d = -0.90). Cases also demonstrated a number of differences in dynamic plantar pressures (primarily the distribution of the centre of force), ground reaction forces (large effects for timing variables) and also showed reduced peak tibial external rotation moment (d = -1.29). Cases also displayed differences in the timing and amplitude of a number of lower limb muscles but many differences were equivocal.
Conclusions
There are differences in lower limb biomechanics between those with and without Achilles tendinopathy that may have implications for the prevention and management of the condition. However, the findings need to be interpreted with caution due to the limited quality of a number of the included studies. Future well-designed prospective studies are required to confirm these findings.
doi:10.1186/1757-1146-4-15
PMCID: PMC3127828  PMID: 21619710
Achilles tendon; Tendinopathy; Biomechanics; Risk factor
8.  Relationships between the Foot Posture Index and foot kinematics during gait in individuals with and without patellofemoral pain syndrome 
Background
Foot posture assessment is commonly undertaken in clinical practice for the evaluation of individuals with patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS), particularly when considering prescription of foot orthoses. However, the validity of static assessment to provide insight into dynamic function in individuals with PFPS is unclear. This study was designed to evaluate the extent to which a static foot posture measurement tool (the Foot Posture Index - FPI) can provide insight into kinematic variables associated with foot pronation during level walking in individuals with PFPS and asymptomatic controls.
Methods
Twenty-six individuals (5 males, 21 females) with PFPS aged 25.1 ± 4.6 years and 20 control participants (4 males, 16 females) aged 23.4 ± 2.3 years were recruited into the study. Each participant underwent clinical evaluation of the FPI and kinematic analysis of the rearfoot and forefoot during walking using a three-dimensional motion analysis system. The association of the FPI score with rearfoot eversion, forefoot dorsiflexion, and forefoot abduction kinematic variables (magnitude, timing of peak and range of motion) were evaluated using partial correlation coefficient statistics with gait velocity entered as a covariate.
Results
A more pronated foot type as measured by the FPI was associated with greater peak forefoot abduction (r = 0.502, p = 0.013) and earlier peak rearfoot eversion relative to the laboratory (r = -0.440, p = 0.031) in the PFPS group, and greater rearfoot eversion range of motion relative to the laboratory (r = 0.614, p = 0.009) in the control group.
Conclusion
In both individuals with and without PFPS, there was fair to moderate association between the FPI and some parameters of dynamic foot function. Inconsistent findings between the PFPS and control groups indicate that pathology may play a role in the relationship between static foot posture and dynamic function. The fair association between pronated foot posture as indicated by the FPI and earlier peak rearfoot eversion relative to the laboratory observed exclusively in those with PFPS is consistent with the biomechanical model of PFPS development. However, prospective studies are required to determine whether this relationship is causal.
doi:10.1186/1757-1146-4-10
PMCID: PMC3064639  PMID: 21401957
9.  Development and evaluation of a tool for the assessment of footwear characteristics 
Background
Footwear characteristics have been linked to falls in older adults and children, and the development of many musculoskeletal conditions. Due to the relationship between footwear and pathology, health professionals have a responsibility to consider footwear characteristics in the etiology and treatment of various patient presentations. In order for health professionals and researchers to accurately and efficiently critique an individual's footwear, a valid and reliable footwear assessment tool is required. The aim of this study was to develop a simple, efficient, and reliable footwear assessment tool potentially suitable for use in a range of patient populations.
Methods
Consideration of previously published tools, other footwear related literature, and clinical considerations of three therapists were used to assist in the development of the tool. The tool was developed to cover fit, general features, general structure, motion control properties, cushioning, and wear patterns. A total of 15 participants (who provided two pairs of shoes each) were recruited, and assessment using the scale was completed on two separate occasions (separated by 1 – 3 weeks) by a physiotherapist and a podiatrist on each participant's dominant foot. Intra-rater and inter-rater reliability were evaluated using intra-class correlation coefficients (ICCs) (model 2, 1) and the 95% limits of agreement (95% LOAs) for continuous items, and percentage agreement and kappa (κ) statistics for categorical items.
Results
All categorical items demonstrated high percentage agreement statistic for intra-rater (83 – 100%) and inter-rater (83 – 100%) comparisons. With the exception of last shape and objective measures used to categorise the adequacy of length, excellent intra-rater (ICC = 0.91 – 1.00) and inter-rater reliability (ICC = 0.90 – 1.00) was indicated for continuous items in the tool, including the motion control properties scale (0.91 – 0.95).
Conclusion
A comprehensive footwear assessment tool with good face validity has been developed to assist future research and clinical footwear assessment. Generally good reliability amongst all items indicates that the tool can be used with confidence in research and clinical settings. Further research is now required to determine the clinical validity of each item in various patient populations.
doi:10.1186/1757-1146-2-10
PMCID: PMC2678108  PMID: 19389229

Results 1-9 (9)