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Clinical methods to quantify trunk mobility in an elite male surfing population
Bond University. Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia.
Bond University. Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia.
Edith Cowan University, Joondalup, Australia.
Linköping University, Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Division of Physiotherapy. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Bond University. Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4318-9216
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2016 (English)In: Physical Therapy in Sport, ISSN 1466-853X, E-ISSN 1873-1600, Vol. 19, 28-35 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]


High numbers of acute shoulder and chronic lumbar injuries have been identified in a surfing population. A simple screening tool could be used to determine whether thoracic spine dysfunction is a possible contributor to shoulder or lumbar injuries. Importantly, 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.


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


Clinical Measurement, reliability (repeated measures) and comparative study. Methods: 27 subjects were used to determine the reliability of a new method to assess thoracic mobility in the sagittal plane and 30 subjects were used to confirm the reliability of an existing thoracic rotation method. A total of 15 elite surfers were used as part of a comparative analysis with age and gender matched controls. Results: Intra-rater reliability (within and between session) intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) values ranged between 0.95 - 0.99 for both thoracic methods in the sagittal plane and between 0.95 – 0.98 for the rotation method. There was no significant difference in the amount of thoracic mobility in the sagittal plane between groups; however the elite surfing group had significantly (p ≤ 0.05) greater rotation than the comparative group (mean rotation 63.57° versus 40.80° respectively). Symmetry was also confirmed between left and right thoracic rotation in the elite surfing group (63.06 versus 64.01). Conclusion: This study has illustrated reliable methods to assess the thoracic spine in the sagittal and horizontal planes. 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 and symmetry. From a screening perspective thoracic rotation should be assessed for performance purposes and to limit the potential for injury in the thoracic spine or in surrounding regions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2016. Vol. 19, 28-35 p.
Keyword [en]
Thoracic; range of motion; extension; rotation; surfing
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-123547DOI: 10.1016/j.ptsp.2015.09.003ISI: 000376549800005OAI: diva2:886184
Available from: 2015-12-21 Created: 2015-12-21 Last updated: 2016-06-21Bibliographically approved

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Abbott, Allan
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Division of PhysiotherapyFaculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
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