Indexed on: 25 Feb '05Published on: 25 Feb '05Published in: British journal of sports medicine
Gymnasts usually start intensive training from early childhood. The impact of such strenuous training on the musculoskeletal system is not clear.To evaluate the relation between muscle strength of the ankle joint and foot structure in gymnasts.The study population comprised 20 high level male gymnasts and 17 non-athletic healthy male controls. Arch indices were measured using a podoscope. Ankle plantar/dorsiflexion and eversion/inversion strengths were measured using a Biodex 3 dynamometer within the protocol of concentric/concentric five repetitions at 30 degrees /s velocity.The mean arch index of the right and left foot of the gymnasts and the controls were respectively: 31.4 (29.1), 34.01 (34.65); 60.01 (30.3), 63.75 (32.27). Both the arch indices and the ankle dorsiflexion strengths were lower in the gymnasts. Although no correlation was found between strength and arch index in the control group, a significant correlation was observed between eversion strengths and arch indices of the gymnasts (r = 0.41, p = 0.02).Whether or not the findings indicate sport specific adaptation or less training of the ankle dorsiflexors, prospective data are required to elucidate the tendency for pes cavus in gymnasts, for whom stabilisation of the foot is a priority.