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Core Stability for the Female Athlete: A Review

Ortiz, Alexis PT, PhD, CSCS1; Olson, Sharon PT, PhD2; Libby, Charles L. PT, MEd, EMT, ATC2

Journal of Women’s Health Physical Therapy: July 2006 - Volume 30 - Issue 2 - p 11–17
Clinical Commentary

The anatomical core that is addressed in stability training refers to the combination of all muscles that surround the lumbo-pelvic-hip complex. Weakness of these muscles has been proposed to be related to greater incidence of lower extremity injuries in female athletes in sports that require jumping and high-speed running combined with cutting/pivoting maneuvers. Core stabilization and strengthening programs are thought to promote increased lumbo-pelvic-hip stability and increased neuromuscular recruitment toward the intended goal of decreasing low back and lower extremity injuries. Despite anecdotal reports of these positive training effects, a direct relationship between core strength and greater athletic performance has not been strongly supported in the literature. An understanding of the available evidence will assist those involved with the training and rehabilitation of female athletes in using an evidence-based approach when developing training programs in order to reduce the increased incidence of lower extremity injuries in female athletes. Literature for this review was identified through the electronic databases MEDLINE, PUBMED, CINAHL, and SPORTDISCUS. The keywords core stability, female athlete, injury, lower extremity, low back, and pelvis were used alone and in various combinations.

1School of Physical Therapy, University of Puerto Rico, Medical Sciences Campus, San Juan, PR

2School of Physical Therapy, Texas Woman's University, Houston, TX

© 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.