Evaluation of customised dynamic elastomeric fabric orthoses for aiding return to sport after lumbopelvic injury

Martin J. Matthews, MPhil, L Sawle, J Freeman, J Marsden,



The aim was to evaluate effectiveness of a customised dynamic elastomeric fabric orthosis (DEFO) in aiding return to sport after lumbopelvic injury. Relevance: athletic lumbopelvic dysfunction (LPD) is a common problem. Pelvic belts have been used in the management of LPD, but with limited success. The authors designed a DEFO to aid LPD management and evaluated its effectiveness using a series of single case studies. Participants were one female and two male athletes, experiencing LPD during sport or at rest were recruited from local gyms and sports clubs. Three single case studies (AB design) with a randomised onset of intervention. Fifteen daily assessments were undertaken, with at least six during each phase. In the intervention phase participants wore the DEFO during pain-provoking activities. Measures were self-reported pain (Numerical Rating Scale): at rest, during resisted bilateral hip adduction, an active straight leg raise and a broad jump. Maximal resisted hip adduction was measured via a load cell. In each phase measures were repeated twice, separated by a 10-min rest. At baseline regular shorts were worn during both tests; during the intervention phase participants first wore the regular shorts and then the DEFO. Training diaries were kept. At 1 month participants were retested and completed a questionnaire about DEFO use. Visual analysis of trend, level and slope was undertaken on all data. Mean (±2 SD) was plotted for force data and pain scores, preceded by celeration lines. In two cases, force production significantly increased during the intervention phase. In all cases, during intervention, pain scores significantly reduced for all activities. Questionnaire data and diaries indicated enhanced sports participation with DEFO use. Preliminary evidence is provided supporting the use of this customised DEFO to aid the management of athletic lumbopelvic pain. This orthosis may support physiotherapeutic management of athletic LPD. Further work examining its impact on performance is required.

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