Landing Stiffness Between Individuals With and Without a History of Low Back Pain

in Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
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Context: Reduced spinal stabilization, delayed onset of muscle activation, and increased knee joint stiffness have been reported in individuals with a history of low back pain (LBP). Biomechanical adaptations resulting from LBP may increase the risk for future injury due to suboptimal loading of the lower-extremity or lumbar spine. Assessing landing mechanics in these individuals could help identify which structures might be susceptible to future injury. Objective: To compare vertical and joint stiffness of the lower-extremity and lumbar spine between individuals with and without a previous history of LBP. Design: Cross-sectional study. Setting: Research laboratory. Participants: There were 45 participants (24 without a previous history of LBP—age 23 [8] y, height 169.0 [8.5] cm, mass 69.8 [13.8] kg; 21 with a previous history of LBP—age 25[9] y, height 170.0 [8.0] cm, mass 70.2 [11.8] kg). Interventions: Single-limb landing trials on the dominant and nondominant limb from a 30-cm box. Main Outcome Measures: Vertical stiffness and joint stiffness of the ankle, knee, hip, and lumbar spine. Results: Individuals with a previous history of LBP had lower vertical stiffness (P = .04), but not joint stiffness measures compared with those without a previous history of LBP (P > .05). Overall females had lower vertical (P = .01), ankle (P = .02), and hip stiffness (P = .04) compared with males among all participants. Males with a previous history of LBP had lower vertical stiffness compared with males without a previous history LBP (P = .01). Among all individuals without a previous history of LBP, females had lower vertical (P < .01) and ankle stiffness measures (P = .04) compared with males. Conclusions: Landing stiffness may differ among males and females and a previous history of LBP. Comparisons between individuals with and without previous LBP should be considered when assessing landing strategies, and future research should focus on how LBP impacts landing mechanics.

Sutherlin is with the Dept. of Kinesiology, School of Professional Studies, SUNY Cortland, Cortland, NY, USA. Mangum is with the School of Kinesiology and Physical Therapy, College of Health Professions and Sciences, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL. Saliba, Hertel, and Hart are with the Department of Kinesiology, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, USA. Russell and Hart are with the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, USA.

Sutherlin (mark.sutherlin@cortland.edu) is corresponding author.
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