Physiotherapy - Research Publications

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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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    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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    Dynamic balance and instrumented gait variables are independent predictors of falls following stroke
    Bower, K ; Thilarajah, S ; Pua, Y-H ; Williams, G ; Tan, D ; Mentiplay, B ; Denehy, L ; Clark, R (BMC, 2019-01-07)
    BACKGROUND: Falls are common following stroke and are frequently related to deficits in balance and mobility. This study aimed to investigate the predictive strength of gait and balance variables for evaluating post-stroke falls risk over 12 months following rehabilitation discharge. METHODS: A prospective cohort study was undertaken in inpatient rehabilitation centres based in Australia and Singapore. A consecutive sample of 81 individuals (mean age 63 years; median 24 days post stroke) were assessed within one week prior to discharge. In addition to comfortable gait speed over six metres (6mWT), a depth-sensing camera (Kinect) was used to obtain fast-paced gait speed, stride length, cadence, step width, step length asymmetry, gait speed variability, and mediolateral and vertical pelvic displacement. Balance variables were the step test, timed up and go (TUG), dual-task TUG, and Wii Balance Board-derived centre of pressure velocity during static standing. Falls data were collected using monthly calendars. RESULTS: Over 12 months, 28% of individuals fell at least once. The faller group had increased TUG time and reduced stride length, gait speed variability, mediolateral and vertical pelvic displacement, and step test scores (P < 0.001-0.048). Significant predictors, when adjusted for country, prior falls and assistance (i.e., physical assistance and/or gait aid use) were stride length, step length asymmetry, mediolateral pelvic displacement, step test and TUG scores (P < 0.040; IQR-odds ratio(OR) = 1.37-7.85). With comfortable gait speed as an additional covariate, to determine the additive benefit over standard clinical assessment, only mediolateral pelvic displacement, TUG and step test scores remained significant (P = 0.001-0.018; IQR-OR = 5.28-10.29). CONCLUSIONS: Reduced displacement of the pelvis in the mediolateral direction during walking was the strongest predictor of post-stroke falls compared with other gait variables. Dynamic balance measures, such as the TUG and step test, may better predict falls than gait speed or static balance measures.
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    Effects of lumbar extensor muscle strengthening and neuromuscular control retraining on disability in patients with chronic low back pain: a protocol for a randomised controlled trial
    Farragher, JB ; Pranata, A ; Williams, G ; El-Ansary, D ; Parry, SM ; Kasza, J ; Bryant, A (BMJ PUBLISHING GROUP, 2019-08-01)
    INTRODUCTION: Chronic low back pain (CLBP) is the leading cause of disability worldwide. However, there is no consensus in the literature regarding optimal management. Exercise intervention is the most widely used treatment as it likely influences contributing factors such as physical and psychological. Literature evaluating the effects of exercise on CLBP is often generalised, non-specific and employs inconsistent outcome measures. Moreover, the mechanisms behind exercise-related improvements are poorly understood. Recently, research has emerged identifying associations between neuromuscular-biomechanical impairments and CLBP-related disability. This information can be used as the basis for more specific and, potentially more efficacious exercise interventions for CLBP patients. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: Ninety-four participants (including both males and females) with CLBP aged 18-65 who present for treatment to a Melbourne-based private physiotherapy practice will be recruited and randomised into one of two treatment groups. Following baseline assessment, participants will be randomly allocated to receive either: (i) strengthening exercises in combination with lumbar force accuracy training exercises or (ii) strengthening exercises alone. Participants will attend exercise sessions twice a week for 12 weeks, with assessments conducted at baseline, midway (ie, 6 weeks into the trial) and at trial completion. All exercise interventions will be supervised by a qualified physiotherapist trained in the intervention protocol. The primary outcome will be functional disability measured using the Oswestry Disability Index. Other psychosocial and mechanistic parameters will also be measured. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: This study was given approval by the University of Melbourne Behavioural and Social Sciences Human Ethics Sub-Committee on 8 August 2017, reference number 1 749 845. Results of the randomised controlled trial will be published in peer-reviewed journals. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: ACTRN12618000894291.
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    The nature and extent of upper limb associated reactions during walking in people with acquired brain injury
    Kahn, MB ; Clark, RA ; Williams, G ; Bower, KJ ; Banky, M ; Olver, J ; Mentiplay, BF (BMC, 2019-12-27)
    BACKGROUND: Upper limb associated reactions (ARs) are common in people with acquired brain injury (ABI). Despite this, there is no gold-standard outcome measure and no kinematic description of this movement disorder. The aim of this study was to determine the upper limb kinematic variables most frequently affected by ARs in people with ABI compared with a healthy cohort at matched walking speed intention. METHODS: A convenience sample of 36 healthy control adults (HCs) and 42 people with ABI who had upper limb ARs during walking were recruited and underwent assessment of their self-selected walking speed using the criterion-reference three dimensional motion analysis (3DMA) at Epworth Hospital, Melbourne. Shoulder flexion, abduction and rotation, elbow flexion, forearm rotation and wrist flexion were assessed. The mean angle, standard deviation (SD), peak joint angles and total joint angle range of motion (ROM) were calculated for each axis across the gait cycle. On a group level, ANCOVA was used to assess the between-group differences for each upper limb kinematic outcome variable. To quantify abnormality prevalence on an individual participant level, the percentage of ABI participants that were outside of the 95% confidence interval of the HC sample for each variable were calculated. RESULTS: There were significant between-group differences for all elbow and shoulder abduction outcome variables (p < 0.01), most shoulder flexion variables (except for shoulder extension peak), forearm rotation SD and ROM and for wrist flexion ROM. Elbow flexion and shoulder abduction were the axes most frequently affected by ARs. Despite the elbow being the most prevalently affected (38/42, 90%), a large proportion of participants had abnormality, defined as ±1.96 SD of the HC mean, present at the shoulder (32/42, 76%), forearm (20/42, 48%) and wrist joints (10/42, 24%). CONCLUSION: This study provides valuable information on ARs, and highlights the need for clinical assessment of ARs to include all of the major joints of the upper limb. This may inform the development of a criterion-reference outcome measure or classification system specific to ARs.
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    Clinical education alone is sufficient to increase resistance training exercise prescription
    Williams, G ; Denehy, L ; Rogan, S (PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2019-02-27)
    A large body of evidence demonstrates that resistance training has been ineffective for improving walking outcomes in adults with neurological conditions. However, evidence suggests that previous studies have not aligned resistance exercise prescription to muscle function when walking. The main aim of this study was to determine whether a training seminar for clinicians could improve knowledge of gait and align resistance exercise prescription to the biomechanics of gait and muscle function for walking. A training seminar was conducted at 12 rehabilitation facilities with 178 clinicians. Current practice, knowledge and barriers to exercise were assessed by observation and questionnaire prior to and immediately after the seminar, and at three-month follow-up. Additionally, post-seminar support and mentoring was randomly provided to half of the rehabilitation facilities using a cluster randomised controlled trial (RCT) design. The seminar led to significant improvements in clinician knowledge of the biomechanics of gait and resistance training, the amount of ballistic (t = -2.38; p = .04) and conventional (t = -2.30; p = .04) resistance training being prescribed. However, ongoing post-seminar support and mentoring was not associated with any additional benefits F(1, 9) = .05, p = .83, partial eta squared = .01. Further, improved exercise prescription occurred in the absence of any change to perceived barriers. The training seminar led to significant improvements in the time spent in ballistic and conventional resistance training. There was no further benefit obtained from the additional post-seminar support. The seminar led to improved knowledge and significantly greater time spent prescribing task-specific resistance exercises.