Background Rowing is a popular sport and considered to be among the most physically demanding endurance sports. Especially elite rowers are exposed to high strain of the musculoskeletal system due to their high training volume. Currently, there is no information on the prevalence of musculoskeletal pain in the German Elite.
Objective This study aims to identify the prevalence of musculoskeletal symptoms in German elite rowers.
Design The study was designed as a cross-sectional retrospective survey.
Setting An online questionnaire based on the valid Nordic Questionnaire (Kuorinka, 1987) was sent to German elite division rowers.
Participants N=84 German elite rowers (m=43, f=41; 20.7±3.4 yrs., 183.9±8.3 cm, 77.3±11.5 kg) took part in the survey.
Main Outcome Measurements Lifetime prevalence (LTP) and point prevalence (PP) of musculoskeletal pain were determined.
Results The most frequently occurring localization of pain was the lower back. LTP of low back pain (LBP) was 87%, followed by the neck (66%), knee (65%), shoulder (61%) thoracic spine (58%), wrist (53%), ankle (33%), hip (32%) and elbow (17%). The highest PP was found in the lower back (48%) followed by the neck (30%), wrist (25%), shoulder (23%), knee (22%), thoracic spine (20%), hip (15%), ankle (7%) and elbow (4%). There were no differences in prevalence regarding sex and age.
Conclusions Our findings indicate that musculoskeletal pain and especially LBP is a relevant medical problem in elite rowing. This is in line with findings in the literature. Bahr (2004) described a LTP of LBP of 63% and a PP of 25% in elite rowers, and Fass (2012) found values of 68% and 19%, respectively. The results underline the necessity of LBP prevention and intervention programs in addition to the discipline specific training loads.
Acknowledgement The study was supported by the Federal Institute for Sport Science, Germany (ZMVI1–080102A/11–18).