Physiotherapy - Research Publications

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    Perceptions of Technology and Its Use for Therapeutic Application for Individuals With Hemiparesis: Findings From Adult and Pediatric Focus Groups.
    Lam, MY ; Tatla, SK ; Lohse, KR ; Shirzad, N ; Hoens, AM ; Miller, KJ ; Holsti, L ; Virji-Babul, N ; Van der Loos, HFM (JMIR Publications Inc., 2015-02-10)
    BACKGROUND: Digital technology is becoming an increasingly popular means of delivering meaningful therapy to individuals with neurological impairments. An understanding of clients' technology use and their perspectives on incorporating technology into rehabilitation can provide researchers and designers with valuable information to inform development of technologies and technology-based rehabilitation programs. OBJECTIVE: This study was designed to establish the current use and perceptions of gaming, social media, and robotics technologies for rehabilitative purposes from the perspective of adults and children with upper limb impairments to identify barriers and enablers to their adoption and use. METHODS: We conducted three focus groups consisting of pediatric (n=7, mean age 11.0 years) and adult (n=8, mean age 60.8 years) participants with hemiparesis affecting their upper limb. We applied thematic analysis methods to the resulting data. RESULTS: We identified three key themes: (1) clients' use of technology in everyday life and rehabilitation, (2) barriers to use, and (3) enablers to therapy. Participants had limited exposure to technology for therapeutic purposes, but all acknowledged the potential benefits in providing motivation and interest for the performance of repetitive task practice. Adult participants requested efficacious, simple, and easy-to-use technology for rehabilitation with programs that could be individualized for them and expressed that they wanted these programs to provide a motivating means of repeated practice of therapeutic movements. In contrast, pediatric participants emphasized a desire for technology for rehabilitation that offered opportunities for social interaction and interactive games involving their whole body and not only their affected limb. Perceived safety and privacy were concerns for both groups. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings highlight that all participants were open to the integration of technology into rehabilitation. Adult participants were more pragmatically motivated by potential recovery gains, whereas pediatric participants were more intrinsically motivated by access to games.
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    Effectiveness of an online self-management tool, OPERAS (an On-demand Program to EmpoweR Active Self-management), for people with rheumatoid arthritis: a research protocol
    Tam, J ; Lacaille, D ; Liu-Ambrose, T ; Shaw, C ; Xie, H ; Backman, CL ; Esdaile, JM ; Miller, K ; Petrella, R ; Li, LC (BMC, 2019-12-11)
    BACKGROUND: Active self-management is a process where patients are fully engaged in managing their health in daily life by having access to contextualized health data and tailored guidance to support a healthy lifestyle. This study aims to determine whether an e-health intervention that incorporates symptom/disease activity monitoring and physical activity counselling can improve self-management ability in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). METHODS: The 'Empowering active self-management of arthritis: Raising the bar with OPERAS (an On-demand Program to EmpoweR Active Self-management)' project is a randomized controlled trial that uses a delayed control design. One hundred thirty-four participants with RA will be randomly assigned to start the intervention either immediately (immediate group) or 6 months later (delayed group). The intervention involves (1) use of a Fitbit-compatible web app to record and monitor their RA disease activity, symptoms, and time spent on physical activity and a Fitbit; (2) group education and individual counselling by a physiotherapist (PT); and (3) six phone calls with a PT. The primary outcome measure is self-management ability measured by the Patient Activation Measure. Secondary outcome measures include disease status, fatigue, pain, depressive symptoms, and characteristics of habitual behavior and also time spent in physical activity and sedentary activity with a wearable multi-sensor device (SenseWear Mini). After the 6-month intervention, we will interview a sample of participants to examine their experiences with the intervention. DISCUSSION: The results of this study will help to determine whether this technology-enhanced self-management intervention improves self-management ability and health outcomes for people living with RA. A limitation of this study is that participants will need to self-report their symptoms, disease status, and treatment use through questionnaires on the OPERAS web app. The user-friendly interface, reminder emails from the research staff, and tailored guidance from PTs will encourage participants to actively engage with the app. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Date of last update in ClinicalTrials.gov: January 2, 2019. ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03404245.
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    Objective classification and scoring of movement deficiencies in patients with anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction
    Richter, C ; King, E ; Strike, S ; Franklyn-Miller, A ; Bergamini, E (PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2019-07-23)
    Motion analysis systems are widely employed to identify movement deficiencies-e.g. patterns that potentially increase the risk of injury or inhibit performance. However, findings across studies are often conflicting in respect to what a movement deficiency is or the magnitude of association to a specific injury. This study tests the information content within movement data using a data driven framework that was taught to classify movement data into the classes: NORM, ACLOP and ACLNO OP, without the input of expert knowledge. The NORM class was presented by 62 subjects (124 NORM limbs), while 156 subjects with ACL reconstruction represented the ACLOP and ACLNO OP class (156 limbs each class). Movement data from jumping, hopping and change of direction exercises were examined, using a variety of machine learning techniques. A stratified shuffle split cross-validation was used to obtain a measure of expected accuracy for each step within the analysis. Classification accuracies (from best performing classifiers) ranged from 52 to 81%, using up to 5 features. The exercise with the highest classification accuracy was the double leg drop jump (DLDJ; 81%), the highest classification accuracy when considering only the NORM class was observed in the single leg hop (81%), while the DLDJ demonstrated the highest classification accuracy when considering only for the ACLOP and ACLNO OP class (84%). These classification accuracies demonstrate that biomechanical data contains valuable information and that it is possible to differentiate normal from rehabilitating movement patterns. Further, findings highlight that a few features contain most of the information, that it is important to seek to understand what a classification model has learned, that symmetry measures are important, that exercises capture different qualities and that not all subjects within a normative cohort utilise 'true' normative movement patterns (only 27 to 71%).
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    Pain, depression and the postoperative stiff shoulder.
    Hiscock, N ; Bell, S ; Coghlan, J (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2015-12-04)
    BACKGROUND: The surgical repair of shoulder pathologies, including rotator cuff disease and acromio-clavicular joint arthritis, have undergone many technical advances. However the debilitating postoperative stiff shoulder remains a common and significant complication of these surgeries, occurring in 4.9 to 23.2 % of patients undergoing rotator cuff repairs. The pathology of the pathological postoperative stiff shoulder and its associated condition "frozen shoulder" are poorly understood and both lack formal objective clinical diagnostic criteria. Additionally, although factors associated with the development of idiopathic frozen shoulder have been well described, multiple studies looking at predictors of postoperative stiff shoulder have produced conflicting results. It has been hypothesised that increased pain in the postoperative period, and depression may be predictors of the development of postoperative stiff shoulder. METHOD: A prospective cohort study involving 132 consecutive participants. Preoperatively, participants undergoing arthroscopic subacromial decompression and/or excision of the distal clavicle and/or rotator cuff repair will complete questionnaires about their levels of shoulder pain using a numerical rating scale from 0 to 10, and answer a Patient Health Questionnaire - 9 depression questionnaire. Postoperatively, the participants' pain levels will be self-assessed at two, five and seven days and weeks four, seven and ten. They will complete the depression questionnaire twice, at the time of their routine first and final postoperative appointments with the treating surgeon. At the final appointment, approximately three months postoperatively, the treating surgeon will clinically diagnose participants as having a postoperative stiff shoulder or not. Their shoulders' range of motion will be measured. The incidence of postoperative stiff shoulder will be determined, both pain and depression will be analysed as predictors for its development and incidences determined by different objective criteria will be compared. DISCUSSION: This trial will add to clinical understanding of the postoperative stiff shoulder by providing further insight into the incidence of this condition following shoulder surgery and assessing whether perioperative pain and depression can be used as clinical predictors of postoperative stiff shoulder or markers for possible early intervention. This study will also allow the comparison of incidences determined by different objective criteria in the same cohort. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ANZCTR). ACTRN12613001271796. 17-11-2013.
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    Protocol for a randomized controlled clinical trial investigating the effectiveness of Fast muscle Activation and Stepping Training (FAST) for improving balance and mobility in sub-acute stroke
    Miller, KJ ; Hunt, MA ; Pollock, CL ; Bryant, D ; Garland, SJ (BMC, 2014-10-10)
    BACKGROUND: Following stroke, many people have difficulty activating their paretic muscles quickly and with sufficient power to regain their balance by taking quick and effective steps. Reduced dynamic balance and mobility following stroke, or 'walking balance', is associated with reduced self-efficacy and restrictions in daily living activities, community integration, and quality of life. Targeted training of movement speeds required to effectively regain balance has been largely overlooked in post-stroke rehabilitation. The Fast muscle Activation and Stepping Training (FAST) program incorporates fast functional movements known to produce bursts of muscle activation essential for stepping and regaining standing balance effectively. The purpose of this study is to: 1) compare the effectiveness of an outpatient FAST program to an active control outpatient physiotherapy intervention in improving walking balance following stroke, and 2) explore potential mechanisms associated with improvements in walking balance. METHODS/DESIGN: This will be an assessor-blinded, parallel group randomized controlled trial design. Sixty participants (30 per group) who have sustained a stroke within the previous six months will be randomly assigned with stratification for lower limb motor recovery to receive twelve 45-minute 1:1 physiotherapy intervention sessions over 6 - 10 weeks in an outpatient setting of either: 1) FAST intervention - systematic and progressive practice of fast squatting and stepping exercises, or 2) active control - conventional physiotherapy directed at improving balance and mobility that includes no targeted fast movement training. The same blinded research physiotherapist will assess outcomes at three time points: 1) baseline (prior to intervention), 2) follow up (within one week post-intervention); and 3) retention (one month post-intervention). The primary outcome is dynamic balance assessed using the Community Balance and Mobility Scale. We will also assess fast and self-selected walking speed, balance self-efficacy, and the ability to respond to internal and external perturbations to balance and associated changes in postural muscle activation. DISCUSSION: The targeted training of fast functional movements in the FAST program is expected to improve walking balance following stroke compared to the active control intervention. Unique to this study is the investigation of potential mechanisms associated with improvements in walking balance. TRIAL REGISTRATION: NCT01573585.
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    Recurrent hamstring muscle injury: applying the limited evidence in the professional football setting with a seven-point programme.
    Brukner, P ; Nealon, A ; Morgan, C ; Burgess, D ; Dunn, A (BMJ, 2014-06)
    Recurrent hamstring injuries are a major problem in sports such as football. The aim of this paper was to use a clinical example to describe a treatment strategy for the management of recurrent hamstring injuries and examine the evidence for each intervention. A professional footballer sustained five hamstring injuries in a relatively short period of time. The injury was managed successfully with a seven-point programme-biomechanical assessment and correction, neurodynamics, core stability, eccentric strengthening, an overload running programme, injection therapies and stretching/relaxation. The evidence for each of these treatment options is reviewed. It is impossible to be definite about which aspects of the programme contributed to a successful outcome. Only limited evidence is available in most cases; therefore, decisions regarding the use of different treatment modalities must be made by using a combination of clinical experience and research evidence.
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    Hamstring injuries: prevention and treatment-an update
    Brukner, P (BMJ PUBLISHING GROUP, 2015-10-01)
    Despite increased knowledge of hamstring muscle injuries, the incidence has not diminished. We now know that not all hamstring injuries are the same and that certain types of injuries require prolonged rehabilitation and return to play. The slow stretch type of injury and injuries involving the central tendon both require longer times to return to play. A number of factors have been proposed as being indicators of time taken to return to play, but the evidence for these is conflicting. Recurrence rates remain high and it is now thought that strength deficits may be an important factor. Strengthening exercise should be performed with the hamstrings in a lengthened position. There is conflicting evidence regarding the efficacy of platelet-rich plasma injection in the treatment of hamstring injuries so at this stage we cannot advise their use. Various tests have been proposed as predictors of hamstring injury and the use of the Nordboard is an interesting addition to the testing process. Prevention of these injuries is the ultimate aim and there is increasing evidence that Nordic hamstring exercises are effective in reducing the incidence.
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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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    Self-reported worst injuries in women's Australian football identify lower limb injuries as a prevention priority.
    Fortington, LV ; Donaldson, A ; Finch, CF (BMJ, 2016)
    BACKGROUND: Increasing participation by women in Australian football (AF) has made understanding their specific injury prevention needs a priority. In other sports, men and women have different injury profiles. This study aims to provide the first overview of self-reported injuries in women's AF. METHODS: Nationwide survey of women aged 17+ years who played in an AF competition was conducted following the 2014 playing season. The players' self-reported worst injury from the 2014 season is presented according to injury type, body part injured, treatment sought and games/training missed. RESULTS: Three-quarters of 553 respondents (n=431, 78%) reported at least 1 injury. Over half (n=235, 55%) of injuries were to the lower limb. Ankle ligament tears/sprains (n=50, 12% of all injuries) and knee ligament tears/sprains (n=45, 10%) were most frequent lower limb injuries reported. Two-thirds (65%) of all lower limb injuries led to at least 1 missed game. Of 111 (26% of all injuries) upper limb injuries reported, over half (n=57, 62%) were to the hand/fingers/thumb, including fractures (n=28, 6% of all injuries), ligament tears/sprains (n=18, 4%) and dislocations (n=11, 3%). Half of the upper limb injuries (51%) resulted in players missing matches/training. CONCLUSIONS: The most frequent self-reported worst injuries for women playing AF were joint damage to the ankle and knee. A prospective injury study is needed to confirm the causes and rate of these lower limb injuries to identify the most suitable prevention interventions.
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    Priorities for injury prevention in women's Australian football: a compilation of national data from different sources.
    Fortington, LV ; Finch, CF (BMJ, 2016)
    BACKGROUND/AIM: Participation in Australian football (AF) has traditionally been male dominated and current understanding of injury and priorities for prevention are based solely on reports of injuries in male players. There is evidence in other sports that indicates that injury types differ between males and females. With increasing participation in AF by females, it is important to consider their specific injury and prevention needs. This study aimed to provide a first injury profile from existing sources for female AF. METHODS: Compilation of injury data from four prospectively recorded data sets relating to female AF: (1) hospital admissions in Victoria, 2008/09-13/14, n=500 injuries; (2) emergency department (ED) presentations in Victoria, 2008/09-2012/13, n=1,879 injuries; (3) insurance claims across Australia 2004-2013, n=522 injuries; (4) West Australian Women's Football League (WAWFL), 2014 season club data, n=49 injuries. Descriptive results are presented as injury frequencies, injury types and injury to body parts. RESULTS: Hospital admissions and ED presentations were dominated by upper limb injuries, representing 47% and 51% of all injuries, respectively, primarily to the wrist/hand at 32% and 40%. Most (65%) insurance claim injuries involved the lower limb, 27% of which were for knee ligament damage. A high proportion of concussions (33%) were reported in the club-collected data. CONCLUSIONS: The results provide the first compilation of existing data sets of women's AF injuries and highlight the need for a rigorous and systematic injury surveillance system to be instituted.