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Original Article   

The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2022 Aug 01

DOI: 10.23736/S0022-4707.22.13964-2

Copyright © 2022 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Coordination variability reduced for soccer players compared to non-athletes during the stance phase of gait

Morteza YASERIFAR 1, 2 , Ziya FALLAH MOHAMMADI 2, Sayed E. HOSSEININEJAD 3, Iman ESMAILI PAEEN AFRAKOTI 4, Kenneth MEIJER 5, Tjeerd W. BOONSTRA 1, 6

1 Department of Neuropsychology & Psychopharmacology, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience, Maastricht University, Maastricht, Netherland; 2 Department of Exercise Physiology, Faculty of Physical Education and Sport Science, University of Mazandaran, Babolsar, Iran; 3 Department of Sports Biomechanics, Faculty of Physical Education and Sport Science, University of Mazandaran, Babolsar, Iran; 4 Department of Electrical Engineering, Faculty of Technology and Engineering, University of Mazandaran, Babolsar, Iran; 5 Department of Nutrition and Movement Sciences, NUTRIM school of for Nutrition and Translational Research in Metabolism, Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Maastricht University, Maastricht, Netherland; 6 School of Psychiatry, UNSW Medicine, Sydney, Australia



BACKGROUND: Soccer is a unilateral sports activity that may alter the spatiotemporal characteristics of gait. This may alter motor control of gait in the dominant leg in soccer players and lead to a sport-specific gait pattern, which has not yet been considered. We aimed to determine whether soccer players exhibit differences in the lower extremity coupling variability during gait compared to healthy non-athletes.
METHODS: Hip, knee, and ankle joint angles from fourteen soccer players and sixteen controls were acquired during treadmill walking. Hip-knee coupling, knee-ankle coupling and coupling angle variability (CAV) of the right leg in the sagittal plane were assessed using a vector coding technique.
RESULTS: Soccer players showed reduced hip-knee CAV during the mid-stance and terminal-stance phases of gait compared to the control group (Padj = 0.04 and P < 0.001, respectively). In addition, soccer players less often used an ankle coordination pattern, in which only the ankle joint but not the knee joint rotates (Padj = 0.01).
CONCLUSIONS: In summary, soccer players show altered gait dynamics during normal walking, possibly due to intense soccer training. These changes provide evidence of adaptive strategies of the motor control system to sports activities that can be used for gait rehabilitation. Clinicians should note that some sport, such as soccer, may result in sport-specific gait patterns However, further works are needed to confirm this finding.


KEY WORDS: Gait; Variability; Soccer; Vector coding; Kinematics

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