Dominant limb asymmetry associated with prospective injury occurrence
The purpose of the study was to identify associations between dominant lower limb asymmetry in unanticipated agility performance and prospective injury occurrence. Female netball players (N=24) performed unanticipated 180° turn agility sprints on both the dominant and non-dominant legs interspersed with an additional straight running (no turn) task (5 trials per task), which were cued randomly using a visual monitor in the gait laboratory. A symmetry index was calculated for turn performance time over 2m for each netballer. Netball players were contacted regularly throughout the following six-month period for verification of any lower extremity injury experienced during their netball season. Pearson correlation coefficients with 90% confidence intervals were used to identify any associations between dominant limb asymmetry of greater than 10% for unanticipated agility performance and injury occurrence. Lower limb injury occurred in 37.5% (n=9/24) of the netball players. All injuries (100%) occurred in the netballer’s dominant leg. A dominant limb asymmetry of greater than 10% in performance was identified for 57% (4/7) of the injured netball players and 14% (1/7) of the non-injured netball players. A moderate association of r=0.45 (90% CI: -0.01 to 0.75) was identified between dominant limb asymmetry of greater than 10% and injury occurrence.
Key words: Limb dominance; Turning performance; Prospective design; Netball.