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One Leg Injury Leads to Another
An individual who has had a leg injury in the past has an increased risk of experiencing the same injury again in the future. And often, this recurring injury is worse than the first. However, could one leg injury increase the risk of a different leg injury? Could an ankle sprain from last season make someone more susceptible to hurting their knee this season?
Authors from Australia attempted to answer this question using a systematic review. The study published in British Journal of Sports Medicine reviewed studies on the risk of sustaining a subsequent lower limb injury different in nature or location following a previous lower limb injury.
The authors identified 12 different studies on sports-related leg injuries, in which lower limb injuries were reported following a previous injury in another location in the lower limb.
The authors found:
- Previous history of an ACL injury was associated with an increased risk of subsequent hamstring injury (three studies),
- Previous lower limb muscular injury (hamstrings, quadriceps, adductors, or calves) was associated with an increased risk of sustaining a lower limb muscular injury at a different site.
- A history of a variety of lower limb joint injuries were associated with an increased subsequent lower limb injury risk.
The authors concluded that a previous lower limb injury might increase the risk for a range of subsequent lower limb injuries. And thus, athletes with a previous history of lower limb musculoskeletal injury should be considered at-risk for other lower limb injuries in the future, and rehabilitation programs for any injury should also provide preventative exercises for the entire lower limb.
Note by Joseph Muscolino
That a musculoskeletal injury to one joint or area of the body should result in an increased risk to musculoskeletal injury in another joint/area should not come as a surprise. Once one joint/structure/tissue is injured, compensation patterns usually occur in which the individual offloads physical stress to other areas of the body. This would logically lead to an increased risk of use/overuse/misuse/abuse to these other areas, likely eventually leading to injury. So if a client has had one leg injury, it is reasonable to expect that s/he would experience other leg injuries into the future.
This blog post article was created in collaboration with www.terrarosa.com.au.