Spinal, Pelvic and Lower Limb Kinematics. A Pre and Post Injury Comparison of Elite Level Football Players

  • Paul Bell

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Health (DHealth)


Sports injury and re-injury is a common occurrence; however, the kinematic mechanisms that predispose or adaptations that follow injury are often poorly understood. Therefore, the aim was to examine spinal and lower body kinematic movements over time and as a response to injury during a sub-maximal inside-of-the-foot pass kick.
An observational based prospective single cohort study was undertaken to analyse the kinematics of 29 elite level footballers. Participants underwent repeated measures (two) assessments six months apart utilising a markerless motion analysis system with progressive separation during the trial period into injured and non-injured groups dependent on injury occurrence. Group and individual statistical and descriptive comparisons were undertaken. An individualised Functional Movement Profile (FMP) was created for each participant to facilitate improved intra-individual assessment.
Analysis of the first assessment data demonstrated that reduced mean thoracic flexion and increased support knee flexion-pelvic side bend variability may have a predictive relationship with future injury occurrence. The kinematic strategy employed to complete the task was varied and changed over time in both groups but in the injured group the coupled angle variability of support leg knee flexion-pelvic side bend was greater during both assessments and reduced significantly over time. In addition, lumbar lateral flexion and thoracic rotation were greater in the injured group during both assessments. Adaptation occurred over time to the ‘normal’ movement strategy employed by the injured group when completing the task, which may be indicative of compensatory mechanisms following injury.
Spatiotemporal analysis identified that kicking hip flexion, pelvic side bend and lumbar flexion and the coupled angle variability of pelvic rotation-thoracic rotation changed significantly in the non-injured group over time.
Both inferential and descriptive analysis identified notable disparity between the injured and non-injured participants and between the mean group movement (‘norm’) and individual movement patterns. Therefore intra-individual assessment and utilisation of Functional Movement Profiles is recommended as a useful and important analytical approach to help realise the full impact of intra-individual kinematic change over time and as a response to injury during functional tasks.
Date of Award9 Jan 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorCassie Wilson (Supervisor)

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