Sport-Specific Musculoskeletal Growth and Postural Control in Female Artistic Gymnasts: A 12 month cohort study
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Female gymnasts have been evidenced to experience sport-specific growth, of which broad shoulders and narrow hips are common characteristics. In addition to being a central component of handstand performance, postural control mechanisms, including whole-body and lumbo-pelvic stability, have been identified as risk factors for overuse spinal pathology. The study aimed to develop a fundamental understanding of musculoskeletal growth and postural control responses of female artistic gymnasts in order to extend longitudinal insights into overuse spinal pathology risk. Whole-body anthropometric measures were collected for 12 competitive female gymnasts (age at recruitment: nine to 15 years) at three time points across a 12 month period. Musculoskeletal growth was partially defined as the rate of bicristal-to-biacromial breadth ratio development, and informed shoulder- and pelvis-dominant growth sub-groups. Kinematic and kinetic indicators of postural control were determined for a total of 700 handstand trials. The shoulder-dominant (gymnastics-specific) growth group was found to have significantly greater biomechanical risk for general stability (p=0.00) than the pelvis-dominant group. Significantly greater lumbo-pelvic risk was demonstrated for the pelvis-dominant group (p=0.00). Extended idiosyncratic examination of proportional sport-specific growth measures alongside multi-faceted risk monitoring was advocated for the effective development of future overuse pathology prevention protocols.
Article published in Sports Biomechanics on 13 July 2018 available at https://doi.org/10.1080/14763141.2018.1469662
Cardiff Metropolitan University (Grant ID: Cardiff Metropolian (Internal))
- Sport Research Groups 
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