Previous studies have shown great effects of preventive training on wobble boards to reduce knee injury risk. The results from a new Norwegian study show that the high risk athlete can not be identified easily through preseason by knee specific surveys or clinical tests. Hence, ALL players should carry out preventive exercises aimed to reduce knee injuries!
A survey in Norwegian 1st, 2nd and 3rd division of football (soccer) for men was carried out to see if players at high risk of sustaining knee injuries could be identified.
A total of 508 players representing 31 amateur teams were tested during the 2004 preseason for potential risk factors for knee injury.
The screening was performed through a questionnaire on previous injuries, the Knee Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (KOOS), a clinical examination, a 40 meter sprint test and a counter-movement jump test.
All acute knee injuries occurring during the following season were registered by the team physiotherapist.
During the football season, 61 acute knee injuries, affecting 57 legs (53 players), were registered. Univariate analyses revealed the KOOS subscores ‘‘Pain’’ and ‘‘Function in daily living’’, any findings at clinical examination, flexion contraction in range of motion testing and varus stress tests in full extension and 30º flexion as candidate factors.
However, in such studies, to find the true results, a multivariate analysis must be carried out in order to control for all possible confounders.
In this final analysis no significant risk factors for acute knee injuries were found.
Acute knee injuries are among the most common injuries in football, accounting for 14-32% of all acute injuries. In addition, such injuries are the most common cause of severe injury in need of surgical treatment.
Since knee injuries have been shown to be possible to prevent effectively through neuromuscular training on wobble boards, we recommend all players to carry out balance exercises.
10 minutes training three times a week is all that is needed to minimize the risk of acute knee injuries significantly.
The authors of this study were Anders Hauge Engebretsen, Grethe Myklebust, Ingar Holme, Lars Engebretsen and Roald Bahr.
Read the article published in Scandinavian Journal of Medicine in Science and Sports.