Adolescent female athletes have a higher incidence of certain non-contact lower limb injuries compared to their male counterparts. Decreased postural stability is an established risk factor for lower limb injuries; however developmental-related sex differences in postural stability during adolescence have not been investigated. The objectives of this study were to longitudinally examine changes over time, and potential sex differences in dynamic postural stability performance in adolescents. One hundred and eighty four adolescent athletes participated (mean age=13±0.34 years). Participants were assessed, using the Star Excursion Balance Test (SEBT) at baseline (T1) and at 6 (T2), 12 (T3), 18 (T4) and 24 (T5) months. At each time-point, participants performed 3 trials of the anterior, posterior-medial and posterior-lateral directions of the SEBT on each limb. Reach distance for each direction was averaged across the 3 trials normalised to leg length. General linear mixed model analyses were carried out on each of the dependant variables (reach directions) with sex and time as the categorical independent variables. There was a significant sex×time interaction for the posterior-lateral reach distance scores. There were no significant sex×time interactions for any of the other reach directions. Males increased performance on the posterior-lateral reach direction from T1 to T5, while females only increased performance until T3. Young males and females demonstrate diverging postural stability profiles during adolescence.
University College Dublin ->