Background Research has shown that almost 80% of injuries in track and field athletes affect the lower limb. Therefore, it is important to regularly monitor the condition of athlete's musculoskeletal system to prevent injuries. Simplified measurement of ankle dorsiflexion (DF) with ALT has shown to predict injuries to the lower limb.
Objective To prevent ankle injuries through weekly monitoring of Ankle Lunge Test (ALT).
Design A case series study of weekly ALT screening and injury registration during the 15 week training period. Participants were blinded to the results. Testing was carried out by one physiotherapist following athletes' rest day during the same time period of the day.
Setting University of Tartu Academic Sports Club, Track and field team.
Patients (or Participants) Seven male (age 21.4±1.0 years; height 184.4±5.5 cm; weight 79.7±6.2 kg; training experience 6.9±3.2 years) and five female (age 22.2±1.3 years; height 171.6±10.7 cm; weight 60.2±6.3 kg; training experience 8.6±3.3 years) semiprofessional track and field athletes.
Interventions (or Assessment of Risk Factors) ALT was measured as a distance from the great toe to the wall (nearest 0.1 cm on a tape measure).
Main Outcome Measurements Variance of weekly ALT measurements compared to standard deviation of the same test and registered injuries.
Results Five athletes (42% of the cohort) suffered an injury to the ankle area. Statistically significant (p<0.05) differences in mean ankle DF was found in four athletes. Also, ankle DF measurements were outside an average standard deviation in four athletes (80% of the ankle injury cohort) prior to the injury.
Conclusions Comparing the weekly ALT results to the standard deviation of the previous average values may predict the athletes at increased risk of ankle overuse injuries. This may give valuable information to medical staff to regularly assess the athlete before increasing training load or intensity to keep the athlete injury free.
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