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Motor Performance as Risk Factor for Lower Extremity Injuries in Children

Runge Larsen, L., Kristensen, P.L., Junge, T., Fuglkjær Møller, S., Juul-Kristensen, B. and Wedderkopp, N. (2016) Motor Performance as Risk Factor for Lower Extremity Injuries in Children. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 48 (6). pp. 1136-1143.

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Purpose: Physical activity related injuries in children constitute a costly public health matter. The influence of motor performance on injury risk is unclear. The purpose was to examine if motor performance was a risk factor of traumatic and overuse lower extremity injuries in a normal population of children.

Methods: This study included 1244 participants from 8 to 14-years-old at baseline, all participating in "the Childhood Health, Activity and Motor Performance School Study Denmark". The follow-up period was up to 15 months. The motor performance tests were static balance, single leg hop for distance, core stability tests, vertical jump, shuttle run, and a cardiorespiratory fitness test. Lower extremity injuries were registered by clinicians by weekly questionnaires and classified according to the ICD-10 system.

Results: Poor balance increased risk for traumatic injury in the foot region (IRR=1.09-1.15), and good performance in single leg hop for distance protected against traumatic knee injuries (IRR=0.66-0.68). Good performance in core stability tests and vertical jump increased the risk for traumatic injuries in the foot region (IRR=1.12-1.16). Poor balance increased the risk for overuse injuries in the foot region (IRR=1.65), as did good performance in core stability tests and shuttle run, especially for knee injuries (IRR=1.07-1.18).

Conclusions: Poor balance (sway) performance was a consistent predictor of traumatic injuries, in particular for traumatic ankle injuries. Good motor performance (core stability, vertical jump, shuttle run) was positively associated with traumatic and overuse injuries, and negatively (single leg hop) associated with traumatic injuries, indicating different influence on injury risk. Previous injury was a confounder affecting the effect size and the significance. More studies are needed to consolidate the findings, to clarify the influence of different performance tests on different types of injuries and to examine the influence of behaviour in relation to injury risk

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Psychology and Exercise Science
Publisher: American College of Sports Medicine
Copyright: American College of Sports Medicine
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