Physiotherapy - Research Publications

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    Inertia Sensors for Measuring Spasticity of the Ankle Plantarflexors Using the Modified Tardieu Scale-A Proof of Concept Study.
    Banky, M ; Williams, G ; Davey, R ; Tirosh, O (MDPI AG, 2022-07-09)
    Ankle spasticity is clinically assessed using goniometry to measure the angle of muscle reaction during the Modified Tardieu Scale (MTS). The precision of the goniometric method is questionable as the measured angle may not represent when the spastic muscle reaction occurred. This work proposes a method to accurately determine the angle of muscle reaction during the MTS assessment by measuring the maximum angular velocity and the corresponding ankle joint angle, using two affordable inertial sensors. Initially we identified the association between muscle onset and peak joint angular velocity using surface electromyography and an inertial sensor. The maximum foot angular velocity occurred 0.049 and 0.032 s following the spastic muscle reaction for Gastrocnemius and Soleus, respectively. Next, we explored the use of two affordable inertial sensors to identify the angle of muscle reaction using the peak ankle angular velocity. The angle of muscle reaction and the maximum dorsiflexion angle were significantly different for both Gastrocnemius and Soleus MTS tests (p = 0.028 and p = 0.009, respectively), indicating that the system is able to accurately detect a spastic muscle response before the end of the movement. This work successfully demonstrates how wearable technology can be used in a clinical setting to identify the onset of muscle spasticity and proposes a more accurate method that clinicians can use to measure the angle of muscle reaction during the MTS assessment. Furthermore, the proposed method may provide an opportunity to monitor the degree of spasticity where the direct help of experienced therapists is inaccessible, e.g., in rural or remote areas.
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    CLINICAL SPASTICITY ASSESSMENT USING THE MODIFIED TARDIEU SCALE DOES NOT REFLECT JOINT ANGULAR VELOCITY OR RANGE OF MOTION DURING WALKING: ASSESSMENT TOOL IMPLICATIONS
    Banky, M ; Clark, RA ; Mentiplay, BF ; Olver, JH ; Williams, G (FOUNDATION REHABILITATION INFORMATION, 2021-01-01)
    OBJECTIVE: Spasticity assessment is often used to guide treatment decision-making. Assessment tool limitations may influence the conflicting evidence surrounding the relationship between spasticity and walking. This study investigated whether testing speeds and joint angles during a Modified Tardieu assessment matched lower-limb angular velocity and range of motion during walking. DESIGN: Observational study. SUBJECTS: Thirty-five adults with a neurological condition and 34 assessors. METHODS: The Modified Tardieu Scale was completed. Joint angles and peak testing speed during V3 (fast) trials were compared with these variables during walking in healthy people, at 0.400.59, 0.600.79 and 1.401.60 m/s. The proportion of trials in which the testing speed, start angle, and angle of muscle reaction matched the relevant joint angles and angular velocity during walking were analysed. RESULTS: The Modified Tardieu Scale was completed faster than the angular velocities seen during walking in 88.7% (0.400.59 m/s), 78.9% (0.600.79 m/s) and 56.2% (1.401.60 m/s) of trials. When compared with the normative dataset, 4.2%, 9.5% and 13.7% of the trials met all criteria for each respective walking speed. CONCLUSION: When applied according to the standardized procedure and compared with joint angular velocity during walking, clinicians performed the Modified Tardieu Scale too quickly.
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    Evaluating Access and Mobility within a New Model of Supported Housing for People with Neurotrauma: A Pilot Study
    Callaway, L ; Tregloan, K ; Williams, G ; Clark, R (CAMBRIDGE UNIV PRESS, 2016-03-01)
    Objectives: (1) Evaluate the features of purpose-built apartment living on access, environmental control, and home and community mobility of people living with neurotrauma and (2) Examine tenant perceptions of those features. Research design: Observational case series pilot study.Setting:Three apartments within a residential development in Melbourne, Australia.Participants:Three males (aged 30–55 years) with traumatic brain and/or spinal cord injury living in the three separate apartments. Method and procedures:Measures:Two-published measures of user experience of built and technology environments, coupled with customised interdisciplinary post-occupancy evaluation (POE) methods and GPS-enabled mobility tracking.Analysis:Measures completed per manual guidelines and data reported descriptively. Customised measured drawings produced to represent tenants’ physical access and mobility. GPS community mobility data plotted on Google Earth. Results: Built design features which enabled access and mobility included linear paths of travel, well-located furnishings, and joinery design that allowed approach from either side using a wheelchair. Personal home furnishing choices posed barriers to physical access. Home automation technologies positively influenced participants’ sense of control and independence, but posed learning challenges. Close proximity of housing to accessible public transport and services enabled community travel options. Conclusion: Findings from this pilot study indicate the combination of housing location, design and technologies used, together with availability of local community services, provides an acceptable level of environmental control, access, mobility and tenant experience. Further research is required to determine validity of the novel measures used, and deliver rigorous research design to evaluate those features most important in achieving optimal outcomes.
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    Can adults with cerebral palsy perform and benefit from ballistic strength training to improve walking outcomes? A mixed methods feasibility study
    Gjesdal, BE ; Maeland, S ; Williams, G ; Aaslund, MK ; Rygh, CB ; Cumming, KT (BMC, 2021-12-18)
    BACKGROUND: Power bursts of hips and ankle plantar flexors are prerequisites to walking propulsion. However, these power bursts are reduced during gait for persons with cerebral palsy (CP) and mainly in the ankle plantar flexors. Hence, task specific training, such as ballistic strength training, is suggested to increase muscle power in walking but not investigated in adults with CP. Therefore, the aim was to investigate if adults with CP could perform and benefit from ballistic strength training to improve walking, evaluated through physical measures and self-reported measures and interviews. METHODS: In this mixed methods feasibility study, eight ambulatory adults (aged 24-56) with spastic CP conducted ballistic strength training on a glideboard targeting the ankle plantarflexors two times a week for eight weeks. The feasibility of the training was assessed through objectives described by Orsmond and Cohn. Before and after the intervention, physical measures (6-Minute Walk Test and the eight-item High-level Mobility Assessment Tool) and self-reported measures (Patient Global Impression of Change, Numeric Pain Rating Scale, Fatigue Impact and Severity Self-Assessment, and Walk-12) were collected. After the intervention, semi-structured interviews explored experiences of this training. RESULTS: The participants experienced training the ankle plantar flexor as relevant but reported it took about four weeks to coordinate the exercises successfully. Although we observed no changes in the physical performance measures, most participants reported improvements; some felt steadier when standing, walking, and hopping. CONCLUSION: This study demonstrated that ballistic strength training was feasible and suitable in adults with CP. However, guidance and a long (4 weeks) familiarization time were reported necessary to master the exercises. Most participants reported self-experienced improvements, although no physical performance measures improved. Thus, prolonged intervention may be required for perceived physical improvements to emerge. Also, other outcome measures sensitive to power output remains to be investigated.
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    Kits for wearable sensor systems: exploring software and hardware system design, building guides, and opportunities for clinical rehabilitation
    Clark, RA ; Thilarajah, S ; Williams, G ; Kahn, M ; Heywood, S ; Tan, HH ; Hough, EJ ; Pua, Y ; Godfrey, A ; Stuart, S (Academic Press, 2021)
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    A qualitative study of active participation in sport and exercise for individuals with multiple sclerosis
    Smith, M ; Neibling, B ; Williams, G ; Birks, M ; Barker, R (WILEY, 2019-07-01)
    OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to explore the experience of participation in sport and exercise for individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS) with minimal disability. The objectives were to gain an understanding of key factors that influence participation in sport and exercise and to determine support required by individuals with MS to participate in their choice of sport and exercise for as long as possible. METHODS: A qualitative, descriptive study utilizing three focus groups was conducted. Data were analysed thematically aided by NVivo software. Participants were individuals with MS who had an Expanded Disability Status Scale score of 0-4, indicating full ambulation. All participants were living in northern Queensland, Australia. RESULTS: Sixteen individuals participated; 63% of whom regularly participated in sport or exercise. All participants viewed sport and exercise positively and identified inherent benefits of exercise. Five key themes emerged to describe the experience of participating in sport and exercise: "personally engaging with exercise," "influencing barriers and enablers of exercise," "sustaining independence," "integrating exercise into lifestyle," and "getting the balance right." Most participants felt that advice and guidance from health professionals about the optimum mode and dose (how much and how often) of exercise was lacking. CONCLUSIONS: Participation in sport and exercise was valued by individuals with MS with minimal disability for sustaining independence and an active lifestyle. Personalized exercise advice from health professionals was the key support identified by participants to assist them to maintain an active lifestyle for as long as possible.
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    Low-cost evaluation and real-time feedback of static and dynamic weight bearing asymmetry in patients undergoing in-patient physiotherapy rehabilitation for neurological conditions
    Foo, J ; Paterson, K ; Williams, G ; Clark, R (BMC, 2013-07-12)
    BACKGROUND: Weight bearing asymmetry is common in patients with neurological conditions, and recent advances in gaming technology have produced force platforms that are suitable for use in a clinical setting. The aim of this research is to determine whether commercially-available Wii Balance Boards with customized software providing real-time feedback could be used in a clinical setting to evaluate and improve weight-bearing asymmetry in people with various neurological conditions. METHODS: Twenty participants (age = 43.25 ± 19.37 years) receiving physiotherapy as a result of a neurological condition performed three trials each of two tasks (static standing and sit-to-stand) with and without visual feedback. Vertical forces were measured using available Wii Balance Boards coupled with customized software that displayed visual feedback in real-time. Primary outcome measures included weight-bearing asymmetry as a percentage of body mass, peak force symmetry index, and a visual analogue scale score rating self-perceived level of asymmetry. RESULTS: Weight-bearing asymmetry during the static balance task was significantly reduced (Z = -2.912, p = 0.004, ES = 0.65) with visual feedback. There was no significant difference (Z = -0.336, p = 0.737) with visual feedback for the dynamic task, however subgroup analysis indicated that those with higher weight-bearing asymmetry responded the most to feedback. Correlation analysis revealed little or no relationship between participant perception of weight-bearing asymmetry and the results for the static or dynamic balance task (Spearman's rho: ρ = 0.138, p = 0.561 and ρ = 0.018, ρ =0.940 respectively). CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that weight-bearing asymmetry can be reduced during static tasks in patients with neurological conditions using inexpensive commercially-available Wii Balance Boards coupled with customized visual feedback software. Further research is needed to determine whether real-time visual feedback is appropriate for reducing dynamic weight-bearing asymmetry, whether improvements result in improved physical function, and how cognitive and physical impairments influence the patient's ability to respond to treatment.
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    A pilot investigation using global positioning systems into the outdoor activity of people with severe traumatic brain injury
    Clark, RA ; Weragoda, N ; Paterson, K ; Telianidis, S ; Williams, G (BMC, 2014-03-19)
    BACKGROUND: Little is known about the post-discharge outdoor activities of people who have incurred severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). This study used a body-worn global positioning system (GPS) device to determine the outdoor activity per day performed by this population. Additionally, this study examined the association that mobility, time since injury and injury severity had with levels of outdoor physical activity. FINDINGS: Seventeen people with TBI and 15 control subjects wore a GPS device for between 3-7 days to monitor their outdoor activity. Based on the individual's location and speed of movement the outdoor physical activity in minutes per day was derived. Assessments of duration of outdoor activity between groups, and the relationship that duration of outdoor activity had with results on the high-level mobility assessment tool, length of post-traumatic amnesia, and time since injury were performed. No significant (p = 0.153, effect size = 0.26) difference in time spent in outdoor physical activity was observed between the TBI (median[IQR] = 19[3-43]mins) and control (median[IQR] = 50[18-65]mins) group. Interestingly, 35% of TBI subjects performed <10 mins of outdoor activity per day compared to 13% of the control group. The TBI group also recorded three of the four highest values for outdoor physical activity. Higher levels of mobility were associated with more outdoor activity (Spearman's rho = 0.443, p = 0.038). No other significant associations were observed. CONCLUSIONS: While preliminary, our results indicate that a sub-group of people with TBI exists who restrict their outdoor activities. GPS has potential as an activity tracking tool, with implications for rehabilitation and exercise prescription.
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    Assessment of Lower Limb Muscle Strength and Power Using Hand-Held and Fixed Dynamometry: A Reliability and Validity Study
    Mentiplay, BF ; Perraton, LG ; Bower, KJ ; Adair, B ; Pua, Y-H ; Williams, GP ; McGaw, R ; Clark, RA ; Haddad, JM (PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2015-10-28)
    INTRODUCTION: Hand-held dynamometry (HHD) has never previously been used to examine isometric muscle power. Rate of force development (RFD) is often used for muscle power assessment, however no consensus currently exists on the most appropriate method of calculation. The aim of this study was to examine the reliability of different algorithms for RFD calculation and to examine the intra-rater, inter-rater, and inter-device reliability of HHD as well as the concurrent validity of HHD for the assessment of isometric lower limb muscle strength and power. METHODS: 30 healthy young adults (age: 23±5 yrs, male: 15) were assessed on two sessions. Isometric muscle strength and power were measured using peak force and RFD respectively using two HHDs (Lafayette Model-01165 and Hoggan microFET2) and a criterion-reference KinCom dynamometer. Statistical analysis of reliability and validity comprised intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC), Pearson correlations, concordance correlations, standard error of measurement, and minimal detectable change. RESULTS: Comparison of RFD methods revealed that a peak 200 ms moving window algorithm provided optimal reliability results. Intra-rater, inter-rater, and inter-device reliability analysis of peak force and RFD revealed mostly good to excellent reliability (coefficients ≥ 0.70) for all muscle groups. Concurrent validity analysis showed moderate to excellent relationships between HHD and fixed dynamometry for the hip and knee (ICCs ≥ 0.70) for both peak force and RFD, with mostly poor to good results shown for the ankle muscles (ICCs = 0.31-0.79). CONCLUSIONS: Hand-held dynamometry has good to excellent reliability and validity for most measures of isometric lower limb strength and power in a healthy population, particularly for proximal muscle groups. To aid implementation we have created freely available software to extract these variables from data stored on the Lafayette device. Future research should examine the reliability and validity of these variables in clinical populations.
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    The effect of exercise on high-level mobility in individuals with neurodegenerative disease: a systematic literature review
    Smith, M ; Barker, R ; Williams, G ; Carr, J ; Gunnarsson, R (ELSEVIER SCI LTD, 2020-03-01)
    OBJECTIVE: To investigate the effect of exercise on high-level mobility (i.e. mobility more advanced than independent level walking) in individuals with neurodegenerative disease. DATA SOURCES: A systematic literature search was conducted in Medline, CINAHL, Scopus, SportDiscus and PEDro. STUDY SELECTION: Randomised controlled trials of exercise interventions for individuals with neurodegenerative disease, with an outcome measure that contained high-level mobility items were included. High-level mobility items included running, jumping, bounding, stair climbing and backward walking. Outcome measures with high-level mobility items include the High Level Mobility Assessment Tool (HiMAT); Dynamic Gait Index; Rivermead Mobility Index (RMI) or modified RMI; Functional Gait Assessment and the Functional Ambulation Category. STUDY APPRAISAL: Quality was evaluated with the Cochrane Risk of Bias Tool. RESULTS: Twenty-four studies with predominantly moderate to low risk of bias met the review criteria. High-level mobility items were included within primary outcome measures for only two studies and secondary outcome measures for 22 studies. Eight types of exercise interventions were investigated within which high-level mobility tasks were not commonly included. In the absence of outcome measures or interventions focused on high-level mobility, findings suggest some benefit from treadmill training for individuals with multiple sclerosis or Parkinson's disease. Progressive resistance training for individuals with multiple sclerosis may also be beneficial. With few studies on other neurodegenerative diseases, further inferences cannot be made. CONCLUSION: Future studies need to specifically target high-level mobility in the early stages of neurodegenerative disease and determine the impact of high-level mobility interventions on community participation and maintenance of an active lifestyle. Systematic review registration number PROSPERO register for systematic reviews (registration number: CRD42016050362).