Delineating risk factors may prevent lower extremity injury

August 2, 2009

Athletes classified as having high generalized joint laxity demonstrate increased midfoot loading, according to researchers at the Sports Medicine Biodynamics Center at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. Foss and associates1 noted that delineation of risk factors for medial collapse of the foot, including hypermobility in athletes, may help clinicians evaluate and prevent lower extremity injury.

Athletes classified as having high generalized joint laxity demonstrate increased midfoot loading, according to researchers at the Sports Medicine Biodynamics Center at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. Foss and associates1 noted that delineation of risk factors for medial collapse of the foot, including hypermobility in athletes, may help clinicians evaluate and prevent lower extremity injury.

The authors tested 112 female soccer players aged 11 to 21 years for generalized joint laxity using the Beighton and Horan Joint Mobility Index. Peak pressure and maximum force were calculated from a dynamic, barefoot plantar pressure distribution system; they were greater in the 27 players who had high generalized joint laxity than in the 85 players who had low generalized joint laxity. The midfoot region exhibited greater loading in the former group.

The authors concluded that the increased relative load of the midfoot region could contribute to increased acute or chronic injury to the lower extremities. They suggested that when evaluating such an injury in an athlete with joint hypermobility, athletic trainers manage the injury, be aware of mechanical and force alterations, and make necessary corrections to prevent injuries.

1. Foss KD, Ford KR, Myer GD, Hewett TE. Generalized joint laxity associated with increased medial foot loading in female athletes. J Athl Train. 2009;44:356-362.