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Wolf Schamberger. London: Churchill Livingstone, 2002, £39.99, hardcover, pp 456. ISBN 0443064717
The concepts of malalignment and imbalance have gained popularity in sports medicine over the past 10 years, and have been used to explain many of the injuries with which athletes and physical activity participants present. Rather than simply treating local symptoms, sports medicine practitioners are now looking more globally for contributing factors to injuries and encouraging preventive measures that address these more global deficits. The malalignment syndrome is a comprehensive text that can assist sports medicine practitioners in understanding how malalignment contributes to a range of conditions, and how various sports and physical activities can impact on the alignment of anatomical structures. The book addresses not just the assessment and diagnosis of malalignment syndrome, but also several approaches to treatment, including manual therapy, orthotics, injection, surgery, and self help techniques.
As a clinician, academic, and researcher, I have found the level of detail in this book excellent. The authors and contributors have provided comprehensive material that is well supported by research evidence where available. Biomechanics, as it relates to malalignment, can be quite daunting for many practitioners. However, the author has managed to use clear explanations and weave biomechanical information into an understandable and applied context. The large number of figures used in the book complements the text and allows the reader to fully understand the concepts being discussed. Some photographs, however, require greater clarity in print.
Of interest is the way in which implications are drawn for several areas of medicine including neurology, gastroenterology, orthopaedics, cardiology, and gynaecology. A potential danger of covering several areas in a single chapter is that each medical specialty is given only superficial attention. In this text, however, comprehensive summaries are provided for each specialty area. Greater use of brief case studies would, however, be beneficial. The malalignment syndrome is also discussed with reference to a wide variety of sports and physical activities, including climbing, waterskiing, swimming, weightlifting, and throwing sports (chapter 5). This specific information provides a comprehensive overview for those working with particular sports, although further references for each sport would allow the interested reader to pursue further knowledge. The equestrian sports were singled out for a chapter of their own (chapter 6), whereas this information may have been better placed with all the other sports.
This book is an excellent resource for either the sports medicine practitioner or academics preparing theoretical and clinical teaching on malalignment syndrome. Upper level students in the breadth of sports medicine and rehabilitation professions would also find this book a well written resource.
Evidence basis 16/20
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