November 07, 2019
1 min read

Sport specialization alters lower extremity coordination in adolescent female athletes

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During the drop-vertical jump assessment in adolescent female athletes, sport specialization correlated with increased variability of hip-and knee-joint couplings needed for effective landing, according to results of this study.

“Altered landing strategies resulting in increased variability of coordination of the hip and knee joints may underlie unstable landings, inefficient force-absorption strategies or greater contact forces (or a combination of these) that can place the lower extremities at risk for injury,” the authors wrote.

Researchers identified 366 sport-specialized adolescent female athletes and 366 multisport adolescent female basketball, soccer and volleyball players. Athletes were assessed with the drop-vertical jump test. The main outcome measure was the average coupling-angle variability for hip flexion and knee flexion, knee flexion and ankle flexion, hip flexion and knee abduction, knee flexion and knee abduction, knee flexion and knee internal rotation, and knee abduction and knee internal rotation.

Results showed sport-specialized athletes showed increased coupling variability in the dominant-limb hip flexion and knee flexion, knee flexion and knee abduction, and knee flexion and knee internal while landing during the drop-vertical jump. However, they had small effect sizes.

This demonstrated sport-specialized athletes may exhibit lower extremity coordination, according to researchers, whereas multisport participation may help improve coordination. Investigators noted the two groups were not significantly different with regard to other coupling-angle variability measures of the dominant limb. No differences were seen in the non-dominant limb with regard to coupling-angle variability. – by Monica Jaramillo


Disclosures: The study received funding support from the NIH/National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases grants R21AR065068-01A1, U01AR067997, R01-AR049735, R01-AR055563, and R01-AR056259.