Background It has been reported that low back pain (LBP) is a major problem in figure skaters. However, the relationship between flexibility or muscle strength and LBP among figure skaters is unclear.
Objective To investigate the influence of flexibility and muscle strength on the incidence of LBP in young figure skaters.
Design Retrospective cohort study.
Setting A study of an amateur figure skating team in Japan.
Participants 39 female figure skaters aged 9–16 years were included in this study. They were divided into an LBP group (14 members, 11.9±1.9 years) and a control group (25 members, 11.8±1.9 years) from our injury records of the previous 25 months.
Main outcome measurements Five physical examinations (Thomas test, Ober test, finger-floor distance, trunk rotation test, and abdominal muscle test) were performed on all subjects. The trunk rotation test was performed with the subjects in the prone position with shoulder abduction at 90°. Subjects attempted to rotate their toe toward their opposite middle finger. The abdominal muscle strength was scored 1–10. The positive rates of Thomas test and Ober test, finger-floor distance (cm), toe-finger distance (cm), abdominal muscle test score were compared in the 2 groups. The Chi-square test and Mann-Whitney U test were used for statistical analysis (P<.05).
Results The positive rate of Ober test was significantly higher in the LBP group (78.6%) than in the control group (36.0%). There were no significant differences in other tests.
Conclusions Our research showed that figure skaters who experienced LBP had tightness of anterior and lateral hip muscles such as the Tensor fasciae latae muscle. These results suggest that reduction of hip muscle tightness might be effective in preventing LBP in young figure skaters.