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Lower Limb Injury
The effect of player position on patellar tendinopathy in volleyball
  1. N Mahieu,
  2. R De Ridder,
  3. L Reynaert,
  4. K Strubbe,
  5. W Poppe,
  6. A Cools,
  7. P Roosen
  1. Department of Rehabilitation Sciences and Physiotherapy, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium
  1. Email: nele.mahieu{at}


Background This pilot study is the first to investigate the role of player position on the development of patellar tendinopathy (PT) in competitive volleyball players.

Objective The objective is to identify intrinsic risk factors depending on player position for developing PT.

Design Retrospective design.

Setting Eight male national volleyball teams participated in this study. They were tested at the beginning of the season 2009–2010.

Participants A total of 71 male players were included. For each player the position on the field was registered. By means of questionnaires, the participants injury history was documented.

Assessment of risk factors Anthropometrical data, muscle strength, muscle length and landing strategies were assessed.

Main outcome measurements The strength of the hip muscles was measured with a hand-held dynamometer. Muscle length of gastrocnemius, soleus, hamstrings and quadriceps was determined by means of a plurimeter. A 2D video analyses was made of a vertical jump. Knee flexion angle, Q-angle and Ankle dorsiflexion angle during the landing were calculated.

Results The incidence of PT is higher in outside hitters (11%) and middle blockers (12.1%) than opposites (3.2%), setters (4.8%) and libero's (6%). When taking into account the players with a history of PT, the libero has a significant higher body mass, a higher body mass index and a shorter length of quadriceps. The setter has a lower hip flexion strength. The middle blocker has a higher ankle dorsiflexion ROM and lower hip exorotation strength. The outside hitter has a smaller Q-angle when standing, a higher ankle dorsiflexion ROM, a longer soleus length and a smaller hip flexion strength.

Conclusions This study indicates that other factors may play in the development of PT depending on player position. However, the results in this study are preliminary and needs to be confirmed by future research.

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