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Core Stability and Its Relationship to Lower Extremity Function and Injury

Willson, John D. MSPT; Dougherty, Christopher P. DO; Ireland, Mary Lloyd MD; Davis, Irene McClay PhD, PT

JAAOS - Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: September 2005 - Volume 13 - Issue 5 - p 316–325

Core stability may provide several benefits to the musculoskeletal system, from maintaining low back health to preventing knee ligament injury. As a result, the acquisition and maintenance of core stability is of great interest to physical therapists, athletic trainers, and musculoskeletal researchers. Core stability is the ability of the lumbopelvic hip complex to prevent buckling and to return to equilibrium after perturbation. Although static elements (bone and soft tissue) contribute to some degree, core stability is predominantly maintained by the dynamic function of muscular elements. There is a clear relationship between trunk muscle activity and lower extremity movement. Current evidence suggests that decreased core stability may predispose to injury and that appropriate training may reduce injury. Core stability can be tested using isometric, isokinetic, and isoinertial methods. Appropriate intervention may result in decreased rates of back and lower extremity injury.

Mr. Willson is Research Assistant, University of Delaware, Newark, DE. Dr. Dougherty is in private practice at Missouri Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, Famington, MO. Dr. Ireland is Orthopaedic Surgeon and President, Kentucky Sports Medicine Clinic, Lexington, KY. Dr. Davis is Director of Research, Drayer Physical Therapy Institute, Hummelstown, PA, and Professor, Department of Physical Therapy, University of Delaware, Newark.

None of the following authors or the departments with which they are affiliated has received anything of value from or owns stock in a commercial company or institution related directly or indirectly to the subject of this article: Mr. Willson, Dr. Dougherty, Dr. Ireland, and Dr. Davis.

Reprint requests: Mr. Willson, University of Delaware, 326 McKinly Lab, Newark, DE 19716.

© 2005 by American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
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