Lower limb posture and joint mobility in young Soccer players
From Firenze University Press Journal: Italian Journal of Anatomy and Embryology
Piergiorgio Francia, Meyer Children’s Hospital
Carlo Ferri Marini, Department of Biomolecular Sciences — Division of Exercise and Health Sciences, University of Urbino “Carlo Bo”
Sonia Toni, Meyer Children’s Hospital
Francesco Lucertini, Department of Biomolecular Sciences — Division of Exercise and Health Sciences, University of Urbino “Carlo Bo”
Ario Federici, Department of Biomolecular Sciences — Division of Exercise and Health Sciences, University of Urbino “Carlo Bo”
Giulia Iannone, ANIMO: National Association of Movement Sciences, Florence
Ferdinando Paternostro, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Florence
Barbara Piccini, Meyer Children’s Hospital
The study of the effect of sport on young players is of noteworthy importance considering the large number of subjects involved and how sport can affect the development [Strong et al., 2005; Merkel, 2013; Bergeron et al., 2015].Soccer is the most practiced sport, especially by males, in many countries around the world. The practice of Soccer in sports settings as well as in recreational and school ones can begin from the first years of life; therefore, even young subjects can have a history of a multiple years of sports practice [FIFA Communications Division, 2007; Study Center FIGC, 2017; Statistics Canada, 2014; Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport — England, 2018; National Physical Activity Plan Alliance, 2018].
Basketball and Volleyball are also two of the most practiced sports by young subjects, but they differ from Soccer where the ball is managed with the feet, a condition that can induce muscle-connective adaptations at the level of the lower limb and expose the ankle to a greater number of traumas [Faude et al., 2013; Golanò et al., 2014; Read et al., 2016].The study of the effects of sport on ankle mobility is considered important because the ankle is a load-bearing joint of the body with fundamental biomechanical and postural functions [Basnett et al., 2013; Golanò et al., 2014; Brockett & Chap-man, 2016]. The ankle is formed by a ginglymus of hinge-type synovial joint formed by the medial and lateral malleolus, which forms a mortise to receive the trochlear surface of the talus [Kaueyer & Malone, 1980; Golanò et al., 2014; Brockett & Chap-man, 2016]. The anatomy of the articular surfaces of the talocrural joint together with other passive factors (e.g. capsuloligamentous structures surrounding the joint) and dynamic factors (e.g. muscle-action) determine joint mobility, by allowing and limit-ing it, in dorsiflexion and plantar flexion on the sagittal plane [Lin et al., 2004; Golanò et al., 2014; Brockett & Chapman, 2016].
Previous studies underlined that the practice of certain sports can significantly modify ankle mobility. In this sense, it has been reported that the practice of Soccer can induce a reduction in ankle joint mobility, while, this effect does not seem to occur in young Basketball and Volleyball players [Hattori & Ohta, 1986; Francia et al., 2021; Moreno-Perez et al., 2020]. The levels of AJM reduction detected in Soccer players were such to be able to increase the risk of ankle sprain, and affect the quality of gait as well as the balance, also due to a partial deafferentiation from the articular and periarticular structures caused by repeated injuries [Kaueyer and Malone, 1980; Kaufman et al., 1999; Carlson et al., 2000; Aronow et al., 2006; de Noronha et al., 2006; Basnett et al., 2013; Evans et al., 2018; You et al., 2009].To date, there is no clear evidence regarding the effects that a reduced AJM can have on lower limb posture of young Soccer players [Ribeiro et al., 2003; Hoch et al., 2012].The complexity of this condition can lead to a significant variation in ankle mobility, detectable in young Soccer players, suggesting that another parameter of great importance such as posture could be altered in these subjects [Conradsson et al., 10; Fong et al., 11; Basnett et al., 2013].The possible detection of postural anomalies is important because they could be studied and treated in order to prevent the same joint and postural abnormalities and injuries as well as to improve sports performance [Kaueyer and Malone, 1980; Faude et al., 13; Young et al., 2013].The main aim of this study was to evaluate the possible effects of sport practice on lower limb posture and their relationships with the AJM.
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