Piergiorgio Francia, Carlo Ferri Marini, Sonia Toni, Francesco Lucertini, Ario Federici, Giulia Iannone, Ferdinando Paternostro, Barbara Piccini


Soccer practice can induce marked changes in the lower limbs with dreaded short and long term consequences. We evaluated the possible effects of sport practice on lower limb posture and their relationships with ankle joint mobility (AJM). In 61 male Soccer players mean age 11.6±1.8 years, and in 50 Volleyball and Basketball players matched for age, sex and body mass index, lower limb posture and AJM in both plantar flexion and dorsiflexion were evaluated on the sagittal plane in the supine position using, respectively, images analysis and an inclinometer.

A multivariate analysis of variance was carried out to assess if the practice of different sports affects the leg posture (FP: angle between foot and leg) and foot posture (LP: angle between the foot and the line perpendicular to the ground). The sport practiced showed a significant multi variate effect on the lower limb posture. Soccer players showed a greater LP angle (169.2±4.3°vs 164.9±4.5°; p<0.001) and a lesser FP angle in both Basketball and Volleyball players (298.0±12.6° vs 305.6±10.9°; p<0.002). These differences were not present between the Basketball and Volleyball players. Soccer players showed a reduced AJM (127.6±15.7° vs. 138.8±21.6 p<0.002) compared to the other subjects evaluated. The AJM was found directly correlated to the FP angle (p<0.005). The results of this study indicate that young Soccer players could show an altered posture of the leg and foot and a reduced AJM. The alterations of these parameters seem to be a consequence of the sport practice.