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Reduced ankle dorsiflexion range may increase the risk of patellar tendon injury among volleyball players

      Summary

      Patellar tendon injury, a chronic overuse injury characterised by pain during tendon loading, is common in volleyball players and may profoundly restrict their ability to compete. This cross-sectional study investigated the association between performance factors and the presence of patellar tendon injury. These performance factors (sit and reach flexibility, ankle dorsiflexion range, jump height, ankle plantarflexor strength, years of volleyball competition and activity level) were measured in 113 male and female volleyball players. Patellar tendon health was determined by measures of pain and ultrasound imaging. The association between these performance factors and patellar tendon health (normal tendon, abnormal imaging without pain, abnormal imaging with pain) was investigated using analysis of variance. Only reduced ankle dorsiflexion range was associated with patellar tendinopathy (p < 0.05). As coupling between ankle dorsiflexion and eccentric contraction of the calf muscle is important in absorbing lower limb force when landing from a jump, reduced ankle dorsiflexion range may increase the risk of patellar tendinopathy.

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