Clinical methods to quantify trunk mobility in an elite male surfing population

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Publication details

Furness, J, Climstein, M, Sheppard, JM, Abbott, A & Hing, W 2016, 'Clinical methods to quantify trunk mobility in an elite male surfing population', Physical Therapy in Sport, vol. 19, pp. 28-35.

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Peer Reviewed



Background: Thoracic mobility in the sagittal and horizontal planes are key requirements in the sport of surfing; however to date the normal values of these movements have not yet been quantified in a surfing population.

Objectives: To develop a reliable method to quantify thoracic mobility in the sagittal plane; to assess the reliability of an existing thoracic rotation method, and quantify thoracic mobility in an elite male surfing population.

Design: Clinical Measurement, reliability and comparative study.

Methods: A total of 30 subjects were used to determine the reliability component. 15 elite surfers were used as part of a comparative analysis with age and gender matched controls.

Results: Intraclass correlation coefficient values ranged between 0.95-0.99 (95% CI; 0.89-0.99) for both thoracic methods. The elite surfing group had significantly (p <= 0.05) greater rotation than the comparative group (mean rotation 63.57° versus 40.80°, respectively).

Conclusion: This study has illustrated reliable methods to assess the thoracic spine in the sagittal plane and thoracic rotation. It has also quantified ROM in a surfing cohort; identifying thoracic rotation as a key movement. This information may provide clinicians, coaches and athletic trainers with imperative information regarding the importance of maintaining adequate thoracic rotation.

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