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Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury in Female and Male Athletes

The Relationship Between Foot Structure and Injury

Walter L. Jenkins DHS, PT, LATC, ATC1, Clyde B. Killian PhD, PT2, D.S. Williams III PhD, MPT3, Janice Loudon PhD, PT, ATC4, and Suzanne G. Raedeke MA, LATC, ATC5
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  • 1 Department of Physical Therapy, School of Allied Health Sciences, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC.
  • | 2 Krannert School of Physical Therapy, University of Indianapolis, Indianapolis, IN.
  • | 3 Department of Physical Therapy, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC.
  • | 4 Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, KS.
  • | 5 Department of Health Education and Promotion, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC.
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Background: It has been shown that anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries are more prevalent in female athletes than in male athletes. Soccer and basketball are considered high-risk sports for ACL injury in female athletes. Several studies have reported a relationship between ACL injury and measures of foot structure. This study was conducted to investigate the relationship between foot structure and ACL injury rates in female and male soccer and basketball players.

Methods: One hundred five soccer and basketball players (53 women and 52 men) were recruited and divided into an ACL-normal group (n = 89) and an ACL-injured group (n = 16). Two measures of foot structure (subtalar joint neutral position and navicular drop test values) were recorded for each subject. An independent t test and a paired t test were used to analyze differences in ACL status, foot structure, and sex. A χ2 analysis determined whether the prevalence of ACL injury was independent of sport.

Results: No statistically significant differences were found in the foot structure measures between women and men. Female soccer and basketball players had an ACL injury rate seven times that of male players.

Conclusions: Values derived from subtalar joint neutral position measurement and the navicular drop test were not associated with ACL injury in collegiate female and male soccer and basketball players. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 97(5): 371–376, 2007)

Corresponding author: Walter L. Jenkins, DHS, PT, LATC, ATC, Department of Physical Therapy, School of Allied Health Sciences, Health Sciences Bldg 2405F, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC 27858.