Introduction This has been supported by the study

Introduction

The study of
inter-limb asymmetries compares one limb against the other to determine its
overall performance. Kinematic and kinetic inter-limb asymmetry is a widely
researched topic within sport science and there has been a number of studies that
have looked at its effect on both injury and sports performance. Due to the
proposed idea that there is an increased likelihood of injury occurring when
inter-limb asymmetry occurs, there have been studies completed to find out
whether this could be true. Rumpf et al. (2013) looked at kinetic asymmetries
during running in male youth. The study looked at whether there is an increased
risk of injury when the limbs showed a form of asymmetry.  This study is a great example for assessing
inter-limb asymmetry and its effects on injury occurrence in young adults going
through puberty as it shows the effects that inter-limb asymmetry has on a
maturing person. Within their study they found that asymmetries occurred of
15-20% in developing athletes. Another study that was carried out by Sadeghi, Allard, Prince, and Labelle (2000) looked
at the effect of asymmetry and limb dominance in able-bodied gait. This study
is important when looking at the effect inter-limb asymmetries has on increased
risk of injury. This is because single lower leg dominance has been shown to
increase the risk of injury due to increased loading rates. This has been
supported by the study completed by Brophy,
Silvers, Gonzales, and Mandelbaum (2010) where it was concluded that ACL
injuries are more likely to occur in the dominate leg in female soccer players.
This study focuses on walking which makes this study as well-rounded as a study
can get as walking is one of the most universal movements.  This research is essential in informing us
about all populations of people as it applies to all age ranges and genders. In
this study the interest was in the idea that asymmetrical gaits occur due to
the limbs not being coordinated and bringing about unsmooth movement. The idea
that asymmetry leads to gait pathology is researched in this paper and has led
to the informed decision that gait is asymmetrical in even the able-bodied
populations.  

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When devising a
study there are a number of methodological issues that occur that have to be
thought about. The study completed by Girard,
Brocherie, Morin, and Millet (2017) looked at lower limb mechanical
asymmetry during repeated treadmill sprints and this paper has some key
methodological issues that needed to be considered. In this study thirteen
physically active males with a background of playing racket sports was selected.
This group of people was selected for the study as they had not reported any
neuromuscular or musculoskeletal disorders at the time of testing which made
them suitable candidates for the study. The participants were all right handed
and for them their right leg was the dominant one, this meant that the study
was very specific in who they were testing. This increased the validity as mentioned
earlier due to dominant leg factors all being the same as they were all right
leg dominant and the likelihood that an injury is more likely to occur in the
primary limb. It does however make it more difficult to recruit participants as
you’re choosing a more niche market of the population, this could make it
difficult in the future to repeat a similar study with different measures.
Within this study certain measures have been repeated for example all
participants underwent a familiarisation session which is essential for
allowing the participants to know what they’re doing before the testing begins,
this makes the results more valid as the participants will already have an idea
of the procedure beforehand. The procedure however required the participants to
perform sprints on three different occasions within one test which for some
individuals as well as a warm up may be tough and mean that the data is poor
due to the participants being fatigued. This type of test also rules out other
areas of the population as it requires maximal testing which may not be doable
for older populations. This study uses an instrumented motorized treadmill that
uses and overhead mounted harness. This kind of equipment is different to the
kinds of treadmill that participants may be used to and so could affect the
results they produce. This means that the familiarisation session is even more
important in allowing the participants to become comfortable with wearing a
harness to run allowing them to reach maximal performance. The variables that
have been recorded in this study are ground reaction force, step frequency,
step length, aerial time and contact time all of which were used to workout
horizontal ground reaction force and also net power output.

 All the papers I have researched have both
good and bad points to their studies and methods, some methods found better
results than others for example the study completed by Rumpf et al. (2014) used
more advanced measuring equipment meaning that their data was more precise. Having
access to more advanced methods of data capture for example force plates built
into the treadmill itself makes this study a more precise study. Limitations in
other studies could be due to the lack of availability to use high quality
equipment, which could affect the level of accuracy in other studies.
Therefore, for my own methodology I will be using parts of other studies that I
believe have benefitted to their level of data collection and preciseness.
Having researched into the current studies that have already been completed I
will base my study on assessing inter-limb asymmetries by conducting an
experiment using a counter movement jump.  
  

 

Methods   

Participants

The experiment
that I will complete will involve recruiting 30 male athletes that play team
based sports. The first 10 participants will have all had a form of lower-limb
injury within the past but received no form of rehabilitation or physiotherapy
to rehabilitate them. The next 10 participants will also have had a form of
lower-limb injury but this group will have received rehabilitation or
physiotherapy to restore them back to full health. The last group of 10 will be
people that have not had any previous lower-limb injuries to date. There will
be no specific age required for the study and all participants will inform us
of which is their dominant leg.

Design

The participants
will complete a familiarisation session to allow them to become comfortable
with the study. The equipment I will use includes a Bertec force plate (Bertec
Corporation, AM6500, Columbus, OH, USA) which will be used to measure the
height of the vertical jump of the participants. Prior to testing the
participants will complete a warm up consisting of a 5-minute pulse raiser on a
cycle ergometer followed by three sets of three vertical counter movement jumps.
The participants will all complete dynamic stretches as Holt and Lambourne (2008) did a study and found that this
kind of warm up is the most beneficial for optimum counter-movement jump scores.

Protocol

When the
participants arrived for the main trial their height and body mass were measured.
During the testing phase the participants will have three attempts to complete
three counter movement jumps on the force plate where an average will be taken
from the data collected. From this data, an average symmetry index will be
calculated which will allow us to see the level of asymmetry of the
lower-limbs; this will increase the reliability of the study.

Data
analysis

 

                                          

 

 

From this study I
am hoping to find out whether asymmetry is present due to pre cursors or is
caused due to injury or whether it is random to certain individuals. The study
by Sadeghi et al. (2000) proved that gait is asymmetrical in even the
able-bodied population and so I am hoping my study further looks at whether
previous injury status will determine the asymmetry of the lower-limbs. From
this and the results I gain I will lead onto possible other studies being
useful for example looking at what kind of previous injury determines asymmetry
of the lower limbs or also what kinds of rehabilitation programmes are
necessary for the correction of inter-limb asymmetries.

 

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