Why do idiopathic scoliosis patients participate more in gymnastics?

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Abstract

The influence of physical and sporting activities (PSA) on idiopathic scoliosis (IS) is still obscure. The aim of this study was to investigate whether such an influence exists and if so, to determine its characteristics. Two hundred and one teenagers with IS and a control group of 192 adolescents completed an epidemiological questionnaire. Those practising gymnastics were more numerous in the IS group than in the control group. Moreover, the practice of gymnastics was chosen before IS was diagnosed. As gymnastic activities are considered neither as a therapy nor as a precursor of IS, the distribution observed could be linked to a common factor that both increases the likelihood of IS and favors the practice of gymnastics. Joint laxity (JL) may be such a common factor, and was therefore tested (wrist and middle finger) on 42 girls with IS and 21 girls of a control group. IS patients, practising gymnastics or not, showed a higher JL than the control group practising gymnastics or not. Furthermore, the groups practising gymnastic activities did not show higher JL levels than the other groups. Children with a high JL could be drawn toward gymnastics because of their ability to adapt to the constraints of this sport. Girls with a high JL may therefore be prone to developing IS. The fact that most teenagers with IS practise gymnastics could be related to a higher JL.

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