The Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at Ghent University is over two centuries old (first opened 1817), yet the department of Rehabilitation Sciences and Physiotherapy is just under 30 years old itself (first opened in 1993). There is great activity in the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences and Physiotherapy, despite its youthful comparison to the Faculty of Medicine. When they first acquired a Qualisys motion capture system in December 2010, the group possessed the tools to further their analysis of physiological and biomechanical studies.
Expanding knowledge in the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences and Physiotherapy
At Ghent University, faculty and researchers have witnessed the body of knowledge in Rehabilitation Sciences and Physiotherapy increase significantly over the last decade. Today, the department’s research is divided into four groups:
- Upper and lower extremity
- Neurogeriatric, metabolic and cardiovascular rehabilitation and physiotherapy
- Paediatric rehabilitation and physiotherapy
Research concerning musculoskeletal rehabilitation in the upper and lower extremity is aided by the use of 8 Oqus cameras, a 10 meter Optogait system, EMG, and Visual3D. The group pursues research with projects including scapular muscle pain, physical and MRI testing of Swedish elite tennis players, the development of tendinopathy, core stability in lower limb over-use, risk factors in ankle instability, return to sport criteria, injury prevention, and various other musculoskeletal screenings of athletes and their rehabilitation practices.
Dr. Joke Schuermans recently published a study concerning “Identification and Specification of the Hamstring Strain Injury Risk Profile in Soccer” of which she explained in grave detail to us just before we prepared to watch hundreds of the world’s best athletes compete for the World Cup 2018 Champion title.
In the Flanders Sports Arena, 60 healthy male soccer players in the upper division of the amateur soccer series were recruited for the study in the region of Ghent. Testing protocol consisted of sprints along a 40m running track.
Using 40 passive infrared reflective markers and 8 Oqus cameras positioned around the running track, the group mapped the athletes’ running kinematics in between meter 15 and 25 – the distance at which maximal acceleration for full speed sprint was reached.
All motion trials captured in QTM, were exported as C3D files and analyzed in Visual 3D.
Findings indicated that running coordination may be strongly associated with the risk of injury in the hamstring. Insufficient ‘core stability’ when analyzing the pelvis and trunk during the swing phases of running, proved to be related to the primary hamstring injury risk, confirming the essential role of the core function in sports performance and injury prevention
“The results of this study are of magnificent value for practitioners occupied with performance, prevention and rehabilitation in sports. We gratefully acknowledge the Qualisys Team, because this study could not have been conducted without the use of their high quality hardware and software.”
Albeit preliminary, the results of this study are of magnificent value for practitioners occupied with performance, prevention and rehabilitation in sports.
Department of Rehabilitation Sciences and Physiotherapy
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Dr. Schuermans and the others in the group performing the study are physiotherapists. She received her PhD in 2016 performing research in the domain of hamstring injury risk detection in male football players. Currently, Dr. Schuermans is busy running a postdoctoral research line in the field of cycling kinematics while also maintaining her own practice, mostly occupied with gait and running analyses, exercise capacity testing and training and conditioning
The original manuscript for the study can be found with the following:
Schuermans J, Van Tiggelen D, Palmans T, Danneels L, Witvrouw E. Deviating running kinematics and hamstring injury susceptibility in male soccer players: Cause or consequence? Gait & Posture 2017; 57; 270 – 277.