Objectives: Lateral flexion range of movement (LF ROM) is used to assess and monitor recovery of side strain injury in athletes. This study established a reliable and pragmatic measure of LF ROM and investigated the stability of the measure over time in athletes.
Design: 1) Cross-sectional reliability study and 2) Cohort longitudinal study.
Setting: Elite cricket teams in COUNTRY-AAA and COUNTRY-BBB
Participants: Cricket players
Methods: 1) The intra- and inter-rater reliability of two methods of measuring LF ROM were assessed (distance to the floor or distance to fibular head). Ten healthy first-class cricket bowlers were tested by three experienced physiotherapists. Intra-class correlations (2,1) were calculated for absolute agreement for all 3 testers. 2) Professional cricket fast bowlers were recruited from COUNTRY-AAA and COUNTRY-BBB domestic and international competitions. Lateral flexion range of movement was measured monthly during the pre- and competitive season. A one-way repeated measures analysis of variance was performed to identify difference within the pre-season, within the competitive season, and between competitive seasons.
Main Outcome Measures: Lateral flexion range of movement towards and away from the bowling arm.
Results: Both methods had good intra- and inter-test reliability (ICC>0.84). As LF ROM to the floor was easier for clinicians it was used for the longitudinal study. Lateral flexion range of movement did not significantly alter throughout the pre- and competitive season or between seasons (p>0.05).
Conclusions: This new method of describing LF ROM demonstrates good intra- and inter-rater reliability and stability over time and can be used as an outcome measure in side-strain injury.