The aim of this study was to analyse possible misalignments in the lower limb, taking into account variations in the Q angle when the knee is under load, the foot position (measured by the Foot Posture Index [FPI]), the corresponding valgus index and the orientation of the subtalar joint axis, in a group of children who regularly played soccer for 3 years.
The purpose was to examine the extent to which this practice affects physical development.
This prospective, longitudinal, observational, analytical study was based on a population of 70 boys who practiced soccer three times per week.
All of the participants were interviewed to obtain demographic data and to conduct clinical examinations.
The FPI was assessed by a podiatric physician (G.G.N.) with a previously established high intra-rater reliability for FPI scoring.
Femoral-tibial angles were measured using a tripod-mounted camera to take a photograph of the front and rear of the participant’s leg.
Finally, the subtalar joint axis was measured following the procedure described by Kirby in a previous study.
The authors observed a decrease in the mean FPI scores from the first year to the third, with the values obtained for the first year being closer to those classified as pronated.
Over the years, feet that were originally classified by the FPI as pronated gradually evolved towards neutrality. This was confirmed by measurement of the valgus index and the orientation of the subtalar joint axis.
Regarding the tibiofemoral joint, however, there was a slight increase over time in the Q angle of the knee.
Although these results show that playing soccer might cause structural changes in the lower limb, these alterations should not be considered harmful because they may be influenced by age as well.
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