Biomechanics of Sport Rehabilitation

  • Antonio Pedotti


It is well known that athletes are frequently injured due to the large stress present in most sport performances as well as accidents of different nature. In most cases such lesions involve muscles, ligaments, joint, bones and in several cases also peripheral nerves. In all these cases clinical treatments for restoring the athlete's capabilities are applied: casting, immobilisation, surgical intervention, traditional and specific rehabilitation procedures. A question of great relevance concerns how and when the complete motor recovery of the athlete has been reached, In fact the parameters which are normally used to assess the complete recovery of a normal subject are not sufficient to assess the recovery of a high level athlete, considering the complex mechanical demand which the musculo-skeletal apparatus must satisfy to reach the required performance. In other words, after an accident, the motor recovery accepted for a normal subject can be absolutely inadequate for an athlete. It is therefore necessary to identify new techniques to assess the efficiency of the rehabilitation procedures in the sport domain. Recent technological developments make it possible simultaneous measurements and processing of a set of biomechanical variables related to kinematics, kinetics. and EMG activity during high level performance, so that the deviation from normality can be assessed, where normality is considered the reference pattern of the athlete when expressing a good performance and in the best shape. Such a quantitative evaluation of motor efficiency in .athletes is also important considering that in many cases of accident is difficult to differentiate the role of pure physiological deficiencies from the psychological ones which are often consistent in limiting the possibility of reaching results previously obtained. In order to reach this goal, it IS important to define suitable protocols to monitor the motor apparatus behaviour when performing selected exercises. In this presentation, the methodological approach used to set up the aforementioned protocols will be discussed. Examples of application for the evaluation of basic motor actions (vertical jumping, running) and of specific sport actions (cycling, sprint start, tennis) be illustrated with particular reference to performance assessment and rehabilitative applications.