FIRST STEPS TOWARDS PREVENTION OF MUSCULOSKELETAL INJURIES IN SPEED SKATING

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Abstract

Background

Musculoskeletal injuries are commonly seen by medical staff of speed skating teams, but lack of injury registration underreports the incidence and prevalence of these injuries. Systematic injury prevention research in speed skating has not been undertaken.

Objective

Initiating injury prevention research following the 6-step TRIPP framework.

Design

Qualitative research including literature review and survey amongst medical staff involved with elite level speed skating teams and development of a logbook and risk factor testing battery for musculoskeletal injuries in speed skaters.

Setting

N/A.

Participants

Doctors and specialised physiotherapists in sports medicine involved with elite level speed skaters.

Assessment of risk factors/methods

A qualitative study aimed to initiate the first steps of the TRIPP framework: injury surveillance, aetiology and mechanisms of injury and development of preventative measures. A review for epidemiological studies in speed skaters was conducted. Musculoskeletal injuries and related factors were further explored by interview and expert survey.

Measurements

Literature review for epidemiological studies, interview and survey.

Results

Four epidemiological studies reported on musculoskeletal injury prevalence (one season) between 24 to 60%. The expert survey (n=5, mean experience in sport=10.4 years) identified the lower back (100%), gluteal/pelvic area (80%) and the hip/groin, knee and lower leg (60%) as most commonly injured. The specific speed skating position and technique, kinetic chain instability, reduced joint mobility and falls were identified as risk factors for musculoskeletal injuries. Based on these results, an injury registration system, logbook, physical tests screening battery were created for pilot testing.

Conclusions

This study described the first steps towards injury prevention using the TRIPP framework. Limitations are the small scale study and work at preliminary stages. However, there is underreporting of injuries in speed skaters and potential underestimation of the problem. Future research continues to focus on injury surveillance, aetiology and mechanisms of injury and development of preventative measures.

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