Ankle ligament sprains are the most common injury in soccer. The high rate of these injuries demonstrates a need for novel data collection methodologies. Therefore, soccer shoes and shin guards were instrumented with inertial sensors to measure ankle joint kinematics in the field. The purpose of this study was to assess test-retest reliability and concurrent criterion validity of a kinematic assessment using the instrumented soccer equipment. Twelve soccer athletes performed athletic maneuvers in the laboratory and field during 2 sessions. In the laboratory, ankle joint kinematics were simultaneously measured with the instrumented equipment and a conventional motion analysis system. Reliability was assessed using ICC and validity was assessed using correlation coefficients and RMSE. While our design criteria of good test-retest reliability was not supported (ICC > .80), sagittal plane ICCs were mostly fair to good and similar to motion analysis results; and sagittal plane data were valid (r = .90−.98; RMSE < 5°). Frontal and transverse plane data were not valid (r < .562; RMSE > 3°). Our results indicate that the instrumented soccer equipment can be used to measure sagittal plane ankle joint kinematics. Biomechanical studies support the utility of sagittal plane measures for lower extremity injury prevention.
Jonathan S. Akins is with the Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA. Nicholas R. Heebner, Mita Lovalekar, and Timothy C. Sell are with the Neuromuscular Research Laboratory, Department of Sports Medicine and Nutrition, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA.