Original Article

HSS Journal

, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp 186-195

A Musculoskeletal Profile of Elite Female Soccer Players

  • Theresa A. ChiaiaAffiliated withSports Rehabilitation and Performance Center, Hospital for Special SurgeryHospital for Special Surgery Email author 
  • , Robert A. MaschiAffiliated withSports Rehabilitation and Performance Center, Hospital for Special Surgery
  • , Robyn M. StuhrAffiliated withWomen’s Sports Medicine Center, Hospital for Special SurgeryAmerican Council on Exercise
  • , Jennifer R. RogersAffiliated withWomen’s Sports Medicine Center, Hospital for Special Surgery
  • , Monique A. SheridanAffiliated withWomen’s Sports Medicine Center, Hospital for Special Surgery
  • , Lisa R. CallahanAffiliated withWomen’s Sports Medicine Center, Hospital for Special SurgeryNew York Power
  • , Jo A. HannafinAffiliated withWomen’s Sports Medicine Center, Hospital for Special SurgeryNew York PowerWeill Medical College of Cornell University

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Abstract

The purpose of this study is to identify lower-extremity (LE) musculoskeletal characteristics of elite female soccer players and to determine whether differences between dominant and nondominant extremities exist with respect to strength, flexibility, and range of motion. Physical data were collected from 26 female professional soccer players. Core control, hip and knee passive range of motion (PROM), LE flexibility, hip abductor strength, and dynamic functional alignment were assessed for each LE. Of 26 subjects, 21 scored 2/5 or less on core control. Mean hip internal rotation and external rotation were 33° (±8°) and 25° (±6.7°), respectively. All subjects had shortened two-joint hip flexors with an average knee flexion angle of 50° (±11°) and increased femoral anteversion. Forty one of 48 dominant limbs and 42 of 48 nondominant limbs demonstrated deviations from neutral alignment during step down or single-leg squat. Of 25 subjects, 15 demonstrated a stiff-knee landing and/or takeoff. All subjects demonstrated limitations in hip external rotation PROM and hip flexor length. There was no difference between dominant and nondominant LEs in all variables including hip abductor strength. Additional research is needed to determine if there is a correlation between the musculoskeletal characteristics, LE biomechanics, and potential risk for injury.

Level of evidence: IV

Keywords

core alignment flexibility range of motion sports injury strength