IS CORE STABILITY A RISK FACTOR FOR LOWER EXTREMITY INJURIES IN AN ATHLETIC POPULATION? A SYSTEMATIC REVIEW

Review written by Dr Travis Pollen info

BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVE

The core can be defined as the anatomical region consisting of the lumbo-pelvic-hip complex and the trunk. Theory suggests that core stability (i.e. the strength, endurance, neuromuscular control, and proprioception of the core muscles) may affect lower extremity function. Impaired core stability is thought to alter force transfer, generation, and absorption throughout the kinetic chain, which could potentially lead to injury. The purpose of this study was to systematically review the literature to determine what role core stability plays in lower body injuries in athletes. The authors hypothesized that impaired core stability increases the risk of lower body injuries.

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METHODS

The authors conducted a systematic literature search using the keywords "injury," "core stability," and a dozen synonyms thereof (e.g. "lumbopelvic stability," "spinal stability," etc.). They included prospective cohort studies that examined the association between core stability and acute or overuse lower body injuries in competitive athletes. For each study, they scored the methodological quality and extracted relevant data such as sample size, aspect of core stability measured, injury rate, follow-up period, and association between core stability and injury.

RESULTS

The overall evidence for the role of core stability in lower body injuries in athletes was mixed (see table).

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