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Cavus Foot in Soccer Players: Increased Prevalence in Experienced Players and Risk Factor for Injury

Anne-Laure Ménard École de Kinésiologie et des Sciences de l'Activité Physique, Faculté de Médecine, Université de Montréal, Campus Laval, Laval, QC, Canada.
CHU Sainte-Justine, Montréal, QC, Canada.

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Mickael Begon École de Kinésiologie et des Sciences de l'Activité Physique, Faculté de Médecine, Université de Montréal, Campus Laval, Laval, QC, Canada.
CHU Sainte-Justine, Montréal, QC, Canada.

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Justin Barrette École de Kinésiologie et des Sciences de l'Activité Physique, Faculté de Médecine, Université de Montréal, Campus Laval, Laval, QC, Canada.

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Marie-Lyne Nault École de Kinésiologie et des Sciences de l'Activité Physique, Faculté de Médecine, Université de Montréal, Campus Laval, Laval, QC, Canada.
CHU Sainte-Justine, Montréal, QC, Canada.

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Background: Foot type, especially cavus foot, is associated with foot and ankle soccer injuries, such as ankle sprains, ankle instability, and foot and ankle lateral injuries. The aim of this study was to identify risk factors for foot and ankle injuries among soccer players.

Methods: Male and female soccer players, from beginners to semiprofessionals, aged between 10 and 40 years were enrolled in this cross-sectional study. Players filled in questionnaires about their training and injury history. Clinical measurements included foot length, Foot Posture Index-6, and arch height flexibility. Each variable was dichotomized: age (<18 years versus ≥18 years), level of play (AA and below versus AAA and above), foot type (cavus or not), and injury. Injury occurrence was analyzed using χ2 tests between each group of variables, and significance was set at P < .05.

Results: A total of 277 players, including 81 females, volunteered; 147 were younger than 18 years and 180 were AA level or below. Cavus foot prevalence was 30%. In the cavus foot group, 51.8% of players had reached at least an AAA level compared with 27.8% in the normal-arched group (P < .001 [χ2]). Injuries were associated with a cavus foot type (P < .01 [χ2]) and with sex, age, or highest level played (P < .001 [χ2]).

Conclusions: This study identified a high prevalence of cavus foot among soccer players of all ages, with an increased prevalence among higher-level players. The injury risk factors were female sex, older age, playing at a higher level, and cavus feet.

Corresponding author: Marie-Lyne Nault, MD, PhD, CHU Sainte-Justine, 7905-3175 Côte-Sainte-Catherine Rd, Montréal, QC H3T 1C5, Canada. (E-mail: timinet@hotmail.com)
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