Robotic Rehabilitation Treatment Influences Power and Active Straight Leg Raise Performance in Division II Female Athletes
1.1 Background: Therapeutic robotic arm technology is a rehabilitation device for physical therapy that lengthens muscles using repeated precise and directed pressure. This therapy has improved range of motion, reduced pain, and improved activities for daily living in the general population. However, the impact of this therapy in improving sports performance in the competitive athlete population remains unclear. The purpose of this research was to explore the impact of a therapeutic robotic arm treatment on the vertical jump and the Active Straight Leg Raise test [ASLR] in Division II female athletes.
1.2 Methods: Twenty-one (n=21) competitive Division II athletes completed a vertical jump and active straight leg raise assessment before and after a 60 minute therapeutic robotic arm treatment on the bilateral hamstrings, quadriceps and hip flexor muscle groups.
1.3 Results: Mean vertical jump pre-testing height achieved for all athletes was 39.47 cm (SD=4.55) and declined to 35.52 cm (SD=4.34) post treatment (p < 0.001; 95% CI, 1.03-1.73). Basketball athletes vertical jump declined from 38.43 cm (SD=3.23) to 34.19 cm (SD=3.07) and volleyball athletes vertical jump declined from 40.64 cm (SD=5.61) to 37.82 cm (SD=4.88). ASLR scores improved in 66.6% of athletes presenting either a 2 or 1 composite score on the pre-test.
1.4 Conclusion: An acute robotic arm treatment attenuated vertical jump performance while improving ASLR in athletes presenting a reduced composite score. Maintaining performance throughout an entire season requires an integrated training and rehabilitation approach. Future research should examine the influence of multiple robotic treatments on various performance measures.