Introduction The rate of injuries of lower extremities (ankle and knee), especially in female handball players, increases from study to study although there are only few relevant studies according with this problem, mainly reporting from European or World championships.
Working in a female handball team which participates last three years in Final forth of European champion league, with its academy and handball team from each category, provoked us to provide a longstanding study for evaluation of risk factors for injuries, especially for injuries of ankle and knee, and in the future to propose a preventive program in training process of young female handball players. This study is only a part of this longstanding study.
Aims The aims of this study are to present the isokinetic characteristics of ankle joints, clinical torsion profile and lengths of low extremities in young female handball players and eventually significant correlations between them.
Material and methods 61 female handball players were recruited in this study, divided in 3 teams according to age (Team I, N = 24 female players, 15.07 ± 0.54 years; 19.14 ± 1.42; Team II, N = 21.17 ± 0.61; Team III, N = 16, 19.14 ± 1.42). At the beginning of the preparation period, this year, we made an isokinetic testing of both ankles with these parameters for evaluation, both in flexion and extension: Peak TQ (N-M) and deficit (%) between both ankles, Peak TQ/BW (%), Max Rep Tot work (J) and deficit (%) between both ankles, Avg Power (Watts) and deficit (%) deficits between both ankles, Acceleration and deceleration time (msec) and Agon/Antag (%) range (deg). We measured lengths of both legs (cm), angle of torsion with pedi-scoliometer (deg) and, with an angle measurement tool, we measured: internal and external rotation of right and left hip (deg), Q angle (deg), tight foot angle (deg) and foot progression angle (deg) og both legs. We used descriptive statistics, t test and correlations (p < 0.05).
Results The deficits of Peak TQ in plantar flexion between both ankles significantly decreased from I (12.32 ± 10.24) to III team (10.93 ± 8.96). The deceleration time in plantar flexion of right ankle significantly decreased from I (126,66 ± 72,32) to III team (98.75 ± 45.39). There were a significant increases of length of both legs from I (87.66 ± 5.23; 87.56 ± 5.14) to III team (91.78 ± 2.78; 91.68 ± 2.84). The hip internal rotation of both legs significantly decreased from I (66,58 ± 11,77; 67.12 ± 10.64) to III team (59.18 ± 9.31; 59.5 ± 9.45). The hip external rotation of left leg significantly increased from I (43.41 ± 9.97) to III team (46.68 ± 9.87). Tight foot angle and foot progression angle of left leg significantly increased from I (4.20 ± 4.73; 7.20 ± 3.60) to III team (7.43 ± 6.52; 10.43 ± 4.27). There were significant correlations (r > 0.49; p < 0.05) between isokinetic characteristics and clinical torsion profile in each team, mostly in III team.
Conclusions and discussion The significant decreasing of internal rotation of both hips (IRRH, IRLH) in Team III should be connecting with longer and more intensive training process that could increase the risk of injury (hamstring, hip, knee). At the same time, significant increasing of external rotation of left hip (ERLH) and left tight foot and foot progression angle (TFAL, FPAL) in Team III are interesting data for further analysis, especially its significant positive correlations with isokinetic characteristic of dorsal flexion of both ankles.
Although we expected that Peak TQ and other isokinetic characteristics of ankles would significantly increase in III team which is oldest one with more training sessions and competitions, on one side, and some other characteristics, as deficits, would decrease, on other side, in this study, only deficits of Peak TQ in plantar flexion between both ankles significantly decreased. If we take account the significantly shorter deceleration time in plantar flexion of right ankle (that is important in jumping and landing phase), higher internal rotation in both legs and higher external rotation, tight foot and progression angle of left leg, the more eventual injuries in III team should be expected. Further evaluation of our longstanding study, taking account the significant correlations in this study too, could support our expectation.
- ankle joint
- isokinetic characteristics
- clinical torsion profile
- length of lower extremities
- young female handball player
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