A Musculoskeletal Profile of Elite Female Soccer Players

Jo A. Hannafin, MD, PhD

Jo A. Hannafin, MD, PhD

Attending Orthopedic Surgeon, Hospital for Special Surgery
Senior Clinician Scientist, Research Division, Hospital for Special Surgery
Director of Orthopaedic Research, Hospital for Special Surgery
Professor of Orthopedic Surgery, Weill Cornell Medical College

Lisa R. Callahan, MD

Lisa R. Callahan, MD

Assistant Attending Physician, Hospital for Special Surgery
Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College


Theresa A. Chiaia
Sports Rehabilitation and Performance Center, Hospital for Special Surgery


Robert A. Maschi
Sports Rehabilitation and Performance Center, Hospital for Special Surgery


Robyn M. Stuhr
Women’s Sports Medicine Center, Hospital for Special Surgery
American Council on Exercise, San Diego, CA


Jennifer R. Rogers
Women’s Sports Medicine Center, Hospital for Special Surgery


Monique A. Sheridan
Women’s Sports Medicine Center, Hospital for Special Surgery


The purpose of this study is to identify lower-extremity (LE) musculoskeletal characteristics of elite female soccer players and to determine whether differences between dominant and nondominant extremities exist with respect to strength, flexibility, and range of motion. Physical data were collected from 26 female professional soccer players. Core control, hip and knee passive range of motion (PROM), LE flexibility, hip abductor strength, and dynamic functional alignment were assessed for each LE. Of 26 subjects, 21 scored 2/5 or less on core control. Mean hip internal rotation and external rotation were 33° (±8°) and 25° (±6.7°), respectively. All subjects had shortened two-joint hip flexors with an average knee flexion angle of 50° (±11°) and increased femoral anteversion. Forty one of 48 dominant limbs and 42 of 48 nondominant limbs demonstrated deviations from neutral alignment during step down or single-leg squat. Of 25 subjects, 15 demonstrated a stiff-knee landing and/or takeoff. All subjects demonstrated limitations in hip external rotation PROM and hip flexor length. There was no difference between dominant and nondominant LEs in all variables including hip abductor strength. Additional research is needed to determine if there is a correlation between the musculoskeletal characteristics, LE biomechanics, and potential risk for injury.

This article appears in HSS Journal Volume 5, Number 2.
View the full article at springerlink.com.

About the HSS Journal

HSS Journal, an academic peer-reviewed journal, is published twice a year, February and September, and features articles by internal faculty and HSS alumni that present current research and clinical work in the field of musculoskeletal medicine performed at HSS, including research articles, surgical procedures, and case reports.

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