The purpose of the study was to evaluate marked postural asymmetry and gross joint mobility in elite female volleyball athletes.
Sixty-two Czech and Slovak elite female volleyball athletes (age 20.7±2.03 years, body mass 71.1±6.18 kg, body height 1.804±.0618 m, BMI 21.8±1.78) were examined by an experienced rehabilitation physician. The set of tests included the frontal posture gross examination, the forward bending test from the standing position and the deep squat test. The spiking hand and the presence of any lower extremity injury were estimated by interview. The proportion test, Mann-Whitney test and t-test were used to evaluate statistical significance (p<0.05).
Fifty subjects (80.6%) exhibited "typical" frontal plane posture in which the acromion, scapula and the iliac crest were in a higher position on the left side than on the right, significantly more frequently than all the other patterns (proportion test, p<0.0001). Ninety-eight percent of the subjects with the "LLL pattern" preferred the right arm for spiking (proportion test, p<0.0001). Forty-one subjects (66%) exhibited hypermobility in the forward bending test, significantly more frequently than twenty-one subjects (34%) with normal results (proportion test, p=0.0003). Thirty-four subjects (55%) did not succeed in the deep squat test and hypermobility in the forward bending test paradoxically prevailed in them significantly (proportion test, p=0.004). Restriction in the deep squat test was not linked to obesity, age (t-test, p=0.081) nor knee (proportion test, p=0.85) and ankle injury (Mann-Whitney test, p=0.36) in the past. Significant prevalence of hypermobility in the forward bending test was not surprising because of general body composition and the performance of regular stretching exercises in elite female volleyball athletes. On the other hand, surprisingly, more than half of the subjects did not succeed in the deep squat test. The cause of poor results in the deep squat test could be due to the tightness of the soleus muscle suffering from chronic overloading and/or an inappropriate stretching methods. An inappropriate and/or insufficient compensatory exercise and stretching method or system could be the cause of their marked postural asymmetry as well.
A detailed examination of posture and muscle imbalance performed by an experienced physician or physiotherapist as well as individually tailored compensatory exercises and a stretching system can be strongly recommended to all elite athletes, not only to volleyball players.
Bänsch, M. Vergleichsstudie der Muskelfunktion bezüglich der Aktivierungsreihenfolge bei Osteoporose-Relevanten Stereotypen [Dissertation]. Jena: Medizinische Fakultät der Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, 2005.
DiGiovanni, CH.W., Kuo, R., Tejwani, N., Price, R., Hansen, S.T., Czierencki, J., Sangeorzan, B.J. Isolated gastrocnemius tightness. J Bone Joint Surg Am, 2002; 8: 962-970.
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