Return to Physical Activity Timing and Dual-Task Gait Stability Are Associated 2 Months Following Concussion

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Abstract

Objective:

The effect of physical activity resumption on functional recovery following concussion is poorly understood. We sought to examine the relationship between physical activity resumption timing and gait stability 2 months following concussion.

Setting:

Motion analysis laboratory.

Participants:

Twenty-nine individuals who sustained a concussion and were subsequently allowed to return to preinjury levels of physical activity within 2 months postinjury.

Design:

Prospective cohort study.

Main Measures:

The return-to-activity day (RTA-day) was identified as the first day postinjury that each participant was medically cleared to resume regular physical activity. Whole-body center-of-mass (COM) motion during single-task and dual-task walking was assessed 2 months postinjury. Correlation coefficients were calculated between the RTA-day and single/dual-task gait stability as well as symptom severity measurements 2 months postinjury.

Results:

Dual-task medial-lateral COM displacement (r = −0.52, P = .004) and peak medial-lateral COM velocity (r = −0.37, P = .048) were significantly correlated with RTA-day. Dual-task peak forward velocity and single-task gait stability measures were not significantly correlated with RTA-day.

Conclusions:

The time of RTA-day clearance, within a 2 months postinjury period, is significantly correlated with dual-task medial-lateral gait stability measured at the end of that period, suggesting that frontal plane gait stability recovery is sensitive to the timing of RTA-day.

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