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The majority of injuries reported in female basketball players are ankle sprains and mechanisms leading to injury have been debated. Investigations into muscular imbalances in barefoot versus shod conditions and their relationship with injury severity have not been performed. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of wearing athletic shoes on muscular strength and its relationship to lower extremity injuries, specifically female basketball players due to the high incidence of ankle injuries in this population.

During pre-season, 11 female collegiate basketball players underwent inversion and eversion muscle strength testing using an isokinetic dynamometer in both a barefoot and shod conditions. The difference between conditions was calculated for inversion and eversion peak torque, time to peak torque as well as eversion-to-inversion peak torque percent strength ratio for both conditions. Lower extremity injuries were documented and ranked in severity. The ranked difference between barefoot and shod conditions for peak torque and time to peak torque as well as percent strength ratio was correlated with injury ranking using a Spearman rho correlation (ρ) with an α level of 0.05.

The ranked differences in barefoot and shod for peak eversion and inversion torque at 120°/s were correlated with their injury ranking. Ranking of the athletes based on the severity of injuries that were sustained during the season was found to have a strong, positive relationship with the difference in peak eversion torque between barefoot and shod (ρ = 0.78; p = 0.02).

It is possible that a large discrepancy between strength in barefoot and shod conditions can predispose an athlete to injury. Narrowing the difference in peak eversion torque between barefoot and shod could decrease propensity to injury. Future work should investigate the effect of restoration of muscular strength during barefoot and shod exercise on injury rates.


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Journal of Sport and Health Science



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Biomechanics Commons