Does Soccer Practice Stress the Degrees of Genu Varo?

Artigo publicado na Rev Bras Med Esporte, 2011. Escrito por Leandro Fórnias Machado de Rezende,
Maurício do Santos, Timóteo Leandro Araújo, Victor Keihan Rodrigues Matsudo

Studies have shown progressive genu varum increase between the childhood and adolescence periods. Variables such as age, weight, vitamin/hormone intake, the environment and soccer training may interfere in the knee alignment. Objective: a) to compare the knee alignment in soccer and non-soccer practitioners, and b) to determine associations between this alignment and anthropometric and neuromotor variables. Methods: The intercondylar (ICD) and intermalleolar (IMD) distances were measured in centimeters in 128 male aged from 14-17 years, soccer practitioners (n=65) and non-practitioners (n=63). The anthropometric variables measured were: body weight and height, whereas the neuromotor variables included agility and speed. Results: Soccer players revealed a greater degree of genu varum (IC) than non-soccer players in all ages, but just in 14, 17 years-old and total group (all ages together) these differences were statistically significant (p< .05). Genu valgum (IM) tended to be less remarkable in soccer players than in non-soccer players in all ages; however, significant differences were observed only in 17 years and total group (p< .05). The IC distances in soccer players correlated (p< .05) with agility (r=.-27), weight (r=.-27); while IM distances correlated (p< .05) with weight (r=.26).Conclusion: Soccer players showed more remarkable genu varum than the non-soccer players. There was a significant association between degrees of varus and valgum with body weight and agility. Such fact deserves further investigation in order to explain this interesting correlation. Present findin- gs support the hypothesis that soccer leads to greater genu varum and/or this sport naturally selects subjects with a certain degree of genu varum.

Keywords: knee alignment, sports, adolescents, performance.