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Standing Height as a Prevention Measure for Overuse Injuries of the Back in Alpine Ski Racing: A Kinematic and Kinetic Study of Giant Slalom


Spörri, Jörg; Kröll, Josef; Fasel, Benedikt; Aminian, Kamiar; Müller, Erich (2018). Standing Height as a Prevention Measure for Overuse Injuries of the Back in Alpine Ski Racing: A Kinematic and Kinetic Study of Giant Slalom. Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine, 6(1):2325967117747843.

Abstract

Background In alpine ski racing, typical loading patterns of the back include a combined occurrence of spinal bending, torsion, and high peak loads. These factors are known to be associated with high spinal disc loading and have been suggested to be attributable to different types of spine deterioration. However, little is known about the effect of standing height (ie, the distance between the bottom of the running surface of the ski and the ski boot sole) on the aforementioned back loading patterns. Purpose To investigate the effect of reduced standing height on the skier's overall trunk kinematics and the acting ground-reaction forces in giant slalom (GS) from an overuse injury prevention perspective. Study Design Controlled laboratory study. Methods Seven European Cup-level athletes skied a total of 224 GS turns with 2 different pairs of skis varying in standing height. Their overall trunk movement (frontal bending, lateral bending, and torsion angles) was measured based on 2 inertial measurement units located at the sacrum and sternum. Pressure insoles were used to determine the total ground-reaction force. Results During the turn phase in which the greatest spinal disc loading is expected to occur, significantly lower total ground-reaction forces were observed for skis with a decreased standing height. Simultaneously, the skier's overall trunk movement (ie, frontal bending, lateral bending, and torsion angles) remained unwaveringly high. Conclusion Standing height is a reasonable measure to reduce the skier's overall back loading in GS. Yet, when compared with the effects achievable by increased gate offsets in slalom, for instance, the preventative benefits of decreased standing height seem to be rather small. Clinical Relevance To reduce the magnitude of overall back loading in GS and to prevent overuse injuries of the back, decreasing standing height might be an efficient approach. Nevertheless, the clinical relevance of the current findings, as well as the effectiveness of the measure "reduced standing height," must be verified by epidemiological studies before its preventative potential can be judged as conclusive.

Abstract

Background In alpine ski racing, typical loading patterns of the back include a combined occurrence of spinal bending, torsion, and high peak loads. These factors are known to be associated with high spinal disc loading and have been suggested to be attributable to different types of spine deterioration. However, little is known about the effect of standing height (ie, the distance between the bottom of the running surface of the ski and the ski boot sole) on the aforementioned back loading patterns. Purpose To investigate the effect of reduced standing height on the skier's overall trunk kinematics and the acting ground-reaction forces in giant slalom (GS) from an overuse injury prevention perspective. Study Design Controlled laboratory study. Methods Seven European Cup-level athletes skied a total of 224 GS turns with 2 different pairs of skis varying in standing height. Their overall trunk movement (frontal bending, lateral bending, and torsion angles) was measured based on 2 inertial measurement units located at the sacrum and sternum. Pressure insoles were used to determine the total ground-reaction force. Results During the turn phase in which the greatest spinal disc loading is expected to occur, significantly lower total ground-reaction forces were observed for skis with a decreased standing height. Simultaneously, the skier's overall trunk movement (ie, frontal bending, lateral bending, and torsion angles) remained unwaveringly high. Conclusion Standing height is a reasonable measure to reduce the skier's overall back loading in GS. Yet, when compared with the effects achievable by increased gate offsets in slalom, for instance, the preventative benefits of decreased standing height seem to be rather small. Clinical Relevance To reduce the magnitude of overall back loading in GS and to prevent overuse injuries of the back, decreasing standing height might be an efficient approach. Nevertheless, the clinical relevance of the current findings, as well as the effectiveness of the measure "reduced standing height," must be verified by epidemiological studies before its preventative potential can be judged as conclusive.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Balgrist University Hospital, Swiss Spinal Cord Injury Center
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:January 2018
Deposited On:19 Jan 2018 16:20
Last Modified:20 Feb 2018 09:04
Publisher:Sage Publications Ltd.
ISSN:2325-9671
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1177/2325967117747843
PubMed ID:29344540

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