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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2019 January;59(1):102-9

DOI: 10.23736/S0022-4707.17.07910-5


language: English

Comprehensive profile of hip, knee and ankle ranges of motion in professional football players

Alejandro LÓPEZ-VALENCIANO 1 , Francisco AYALA 1, Francisco J. VERA-GARCÍA 1, Mark de STE CROIX 2, Sergio HERNÁNDEZ-SÁNCHEZ 3, Iñaki RUIZ-PÉREZ 1, Antonio CEJUDO 4, Fernando SANTONJA 5

1 Sports Research Center, Miguel Hernandez University of Elche, Elche, Spain; 2 School of Sport and Exercise, University of Gloucestershire, Gloucester, UK; 3 Department of Pathology and Surgery, Miguel Hernández University of Elche, Elche, Spain; 4 Faculty of Sports Science, University of Murcia, Murcia, Spain; 5 Department of Traumatology, Virgen de la Arrixaca University Hospital, Faculty of Medicine, University of Murcia, Murcia, Spain

BACKGROUND: Limited ranges of motion (ROM) have been considered as a primary risk factor for some football injuries, but only a few studies have analyzed differences in lower extremity joints. The main purposes were: 1) to describe the lower extremity ROM profile in professional football players; and 2) to examine differences between goalkeepers and outfield players.
METHODS: Eighty-two professional male football players from 4 teams were measured in the 2013 pre-season. Measures of passive hip (flexion with knee flexed [PHFKF] and extended [PHFKE], extension [PHE], abduction [PHA], external [PHER] and internal [PHIR] rotation), knee (flexion [PKF]) and ankle (dorsiflexion with knee flexed [ADFKF] and extended [ADFKE]) ROMs were taken. Magnitude-based inferences exploring differences between player position and limb were made.
RESULTS: Overall, 46% of all participants showed restricted PHFKE and/or around 30% showed restricted ADFKF ROM values. Contrarily, most players reported normal PHFKF, PHE, PHIR and PHER as well as PKF ROM scores with percentage values close to 100%. Bilateral meaningful differences for PHA, PHIR and PHER were found in approximately 30% of outfield players and goalkeepers. Statistical analysis found trivial differences between players for PHFKE, PHE, PHIR, PHER, ADFKE and ADFKF. However, moderate differences between players were found for PHFKF, PHA and PKF, with goalkeepers demonstrating higher values than outfield players.
CONCLUSIONS: The findings of this study reinforce the necessity of prescribing exercises aimed at improving PHFKE and ADFKF ROM within everyday football training routines. In addition, as some bilateral deficits were observed, unilateral training should be considered where appropriate.

KEY WORDS: Physical examination - Athletic injuries - Prevention and control - Soccer - Sprains and strains - Articular range of motion

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