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Does Foot-Drill Negatively Affect Lower-Extremity Proprioceptive Acuity?

Research Paper Title

Altered Dynamic Postural Stability and Joint Position Sense Following British Army Foot-Drill.

Background

Impaired proprioceptive acuity negatively affects both joint position sense and postural control and is a risk factor for lower-extremity musculoskeletal injury in athletes and military personnel.

British Army foot-drill is an occupational military activity involving cyclical high impact loading forces greater than those observed in athletes during high level plyometrics.

Foot-drill may contribute to the high rates of lower-extremity overuse injuries observed in recruits during basic training.

There is limited research investigating foot-drill specific injury risk factors in women, despite greater incidences of musculoskeletal injury reported in women (522 vs. 417 per 1,000 personnel, OR: 1.53) when compared to men during basic training.

This study aimed to quantify changes in ankle joint proprioception and dynamic postural stability following a period of British Army foot-drill.

Methods

Fourteen women of similar age to British Army female recruits underwent pre-post foot-drill measures of frontal plane ankle joint position sense (JPS) and dynamic postural stability using the dynamic postural stability index (DPSI).

Passive ankle JPS was assessed from relative test angles of inversion 30% (IN30%) and eversion 30% (EV30%) and IN60% of participants range of motion using an isokinetic dynamometer.

The DPSI and the individual stability indices (medio-lateral [MLSI], anterior-posterior [APSI], and vertical [VSI]) were calculated from lateral and forward jump-landing conditions using force plates.

Foot-drill was conducted by a serving British Army drill instructor.

Results

Significantly greater absolute mean JPS error for IN30% and EV30% was observed post foot-drill (p ≤ 0.016, d ≥ 0.70). For both the lateral and forward jump-landing conditions, significantly greater stability index scores were observed for MLSI, APSI, and DPSI (p ≤ 0.017, d ≥ 0.52).

Significantly greater JPS error and stability index scores are associated with the demands of British Army foot-drill.

Conclusions

These results provide evidence that foot-drill negatively affects lower-extremity proprioceptive acuity in recruit age-matched women, which has implications for increased injury risk during subsequent military physical activity, occurring in a normal training cycle.

Reference

Rawcliffe, A.J., Hinde, K.L., Graham, S.M., Martindale, R., Morrison, A., Krajewski, K.T. & Connaboy, C. (2020) Altered Dynamic Postural Stability and Joint Position Sense Following British Army Foot-Drill. Frontiers in Sports and Active Living. doi: 10.3389/fspor.2020.584275. eCollection 2020.

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