April 15, 2014
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Differences in gait kinematics found in soccer players with increased alpha angles

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Semiprofessional soccer players with increased alpha angles showed differences in gait kinematics compared with amateur soccer players, which researchers of this study say support the need for a screening program for competitive soccer players.

Male semiprofessional and amateur soccer players had an MRI of the right hip to measure the alpha angle of Nötzli. Researchers had 14 of the participants in each group run in two shoe conditions in a biomechanical laboratory setting and measured simultaneously in-shoe pressure distribution, tibial acceleration and rearfoot motion of the right foot.

Results showed the mean value of the alpha angle of the semiprofessional soccer group was 55.1° and 51.6° in the amateur group. Researchers found a significant difference between semiprofessional and amateur groups concerning the ground reaction forces, tibial acceleration, rearfoot motion and plantar pressure parameters in both shoe conditions. In both shoe conditions, maximum rearfoot motion was 22% lower in the semiprofessional group vs. the amateur group.

“Future research is needed to identify characteristic features which display the different stages of femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) process. A challenge for future research is to develop physical training programs for preventing FAI or decelerating the FAI process,” the researchers concluded in their study. “These findings support the need for a screening program for competitive soccer players. In cases of a conspicuous gait analysis, FAI must be ruled out by further diagnostic tests.”

Disclosure: The researchers have no relevant financial disclosures.