Parity and motor control in female recreational runners
Bouwer, Rochelle T.
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Female recreational runners are more prone to injuries than their male counterparts. Considering the associated risk for sustaining sport-related injuries with impaired core proprioception and the effect pregnancy has on females’ core structures, this study aimed to investigate the trunk motor control in parous and nulligravid female recreational runners. A descriptive cross sectional, case-control study was conducted and 29 female recreational runners were assessed. Eight parous participants were matched with eight participants from the nulligravid group. The matched nulligravid participants were significantly younger [95% CI: - 16 ; - 1] compared to the parous group and no significant difference [95% CI: - 45.9% ; 22.8%] was seen in comparison of sport-related injuries. When testing the muscle activation and endurance of the pelvic floor muscles, the nulligravid group performed better during the surface electromyography test, although no difference was found during the PERFECT test. No statistical significance was found between groups during the surface electromyography test for muscle activity of the Transverse Abdominis muscle [95% CI: - 201.3 ; 504.5], activation of local stabilisers using the pressure biofeedback unit test [95% CI: - 1 ; 1] as well as the Sahrmann test [95% CI: - 2.5 ; 2] to assess global mobility. The parous group tended to perform better during the sport specific plank test, to assess global core muscle function, but in contrast performed weaker in the active straight leg raise test used to assess global stability. During the single leg stand test as well as the unilateral squat (balance and control) no significant difference was found between groups. No significant difference was found between the parous and nulligravid group regarding injuries and only a few tests of trunk motor control showed statistical significant differences between the groups. Due to the small sample size of the matched groups and limited statistical differences that were found conclusive recommendations could not be made. Further research is warranted to investigate motor control in parous athletes.