The 3D kinematics of the single leg flat and decline squat

Timms, Stephen Allan (2012) The 3D kinematics of the single leg flat and decline squat. Masters by Research thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


Background: Pre-participation screening is commonly used to measure and assess potential intrinsic injury risk. The single leg squat is one such clinical screening measure used to assess lumbopelvic stability and associated intrinsic injury risk. With the addition of a decline board, the single leg decline squat (SLDS) has been shown to reduce ankle dorsiflexion restrictions and allowed greater sagittal plane movement of the hip and knee. On this basis, the SLDS has been employed in the Cricket Australia physiotherapy screening protocols as a measure of lumbopelvic control in the place of the more traditional single leg flat squat (SLFS). Previous research has failed to demonstrate which squatting technique allows for a more comprehensive assessment of lumbopelvic stability. Tenuous links are drawn between kinematics and hip strength measures within the literature for the SLS. Formal evaluation of subjective screening methods has also been suggested within the literature.

Purpose: This study had several focal points namely 1) to compare the kinematic differences between the two single leg squatting conditions, primarily the five key kinematic variables fundamental to subjectively assess lumbopelvic stability; 2) determine the effect of ankle dorsiflexion range of motion has on squat kinematics in the two squat techniques; 3) examine the association between key kinematics and subjective physiotherapists’ assessment; and finally 4) explore the association between key kinematics and hip strength.

Methods: Nineteen (n=19) subjects performed five SLDS and five SLFS on each leg while being filmed by an 8 camera motion analysis system. Four hip strength measures (internal/external rotation and abd/adduction) and ankle dorsiflexion range of motion were measured using a hand held dynamometer and a goniometer respectively on 16 of these subjects. The same 16 participants were subjectively assessed by an experienced physiotherapist for lumbopelvic stability. Paired samples t-tests were performed on the five predetermined kinematic variables to assess the differences between squat conditions. A Bonferroni correction for multiple comparisons was used which adjusted the significance value to p = 0.005 for the paired t-tests. Linear regressions were used to assess the relationship between kinematics, ankle range of motion and hip strength measures. Bivariate correlations between hip strength measures and kinematics and pelvic obliquity were employed to investigate any possible relationships.

Results: 1) Significant kinematic differences between squats were observed in dominant (D) and non-dominant (ND) end of range hip external rotation (ND p = <0.001; D p = 0.004) and hip adduction kinematics (ND p = <0.001; D p = <0.001). With the mean angle, only the non-dominant leg observed significant differences in hip adduction (p = 0.001) and hip external rotation (p = <0.001); 2) Significant linear relationships were observed between clinical measures of ankle dorsiflexion and sagittal plane kinematic namely SLFS dominant ankle (p = 0.006; R2 = .429), SLFS non-dominant knee (p = 0.015; R2 = .352) and SLFS non-dominant ankle (p = 0.027; R2 = .305) kinematics. Only the dominant ankle (p = 0.020; R2 = .331) was found to have a relationship with the decline squat. 3) Strength measures had tenuous associations with the subjective assessments of lumbopelvic stability with no significant relationships being observed. 4) For the non-dominant leg, external rotation strength and abduction strength were found to be significantly correlated with hip rotation kinematics (Newtons r = 0.458 p = 0.049; Normalised for bodyweight: r = 0.469; p = 0.043) and pelvic obliquity (normalised for bodyweight: r = 0.498 p = 0.030) respectively for the SLFS only. No significant relationships were observed in the dominant leg for either squat condition. Some elements of the hip strength screening protocols had linear relationships with kinematics of the lower limb, particularly the sagittal plane movements of the knee and ankle. Strength measures had tenuous associations with the subjective assessments of lumbopelvic stability with no significant relationships being observed; Discussion: The key finding of this study illustrated that kinematic differences can occur at the hip without significant kinematic differences at the knee as a result of the introduction of a decline board. Further observations reinforce the role of limited ankle dorsiflexion range of motion on sagittal plane movement of the hip and knee and in turn multiplanar kinematics of the lower limb. The kinematic differences between conditions have clinical implications for screening protocols that employ frontal plane movement of the knee as a guide for femoral adduction and rotation. Subjects who returned stronger hip strength measurements also appeared to squat deeper as characterised by differences in sagittal plane kinematics of the knee and ankle. Despite the aforementioned findings, the relationship between hip strength and lower limb kinematics remains largely tenuous in the assessment of the lumbopelvic stability using the SLS. The association between kinematics and the subjective measures of lumbopelvic stability also remain tenuous between and within SLS screening protocols. More functional measures of hip strength are needed to further investigate these relationships.

Conclusion: The type of SLS (flat or decline) should be taken into account when screening for lumbopelvic stability. Changes to lower limb kinematics, especially around the hip and pelvis, were observed with the introduction of a decline board despite no difference in frontal plane knee movements. Differences in passive ankle dorsiflexion range of motion yielded variations in knee and ankle kinematics during a self-selected single leg squatting task. Clinical implications of removing posterior ankle restraints and using the knee as a guide to illustrate changes at the hip may result in inaccurate screening of lumbopelvic stability. The relationship between sagittal plane lower limb kinematics and hip strength may illustrate that self-selected squat depth may presumably be a useful predictor of the lumbopelvic stability. Further research in this area is required.

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ID Code: 53119
Item Type: QUT Thesis (Masters by Research)
Supervisor: Shield, Anthony, Davids, Keith, & Portus, Marc
Keywords: kinematics, biomechanics, single leg squat, physiotherapy screening protocols, lumbopelvic stability, intrinsic injury risk, malalignment, hip strength, ankle dorsiflexion
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Schools > School of Exercise & Nutrition Sciences
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 14 Aug 2012 01:31
Last Modified: 10 Sep 2015 02:09

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