The Effectiveness of the Y-Balance Test in Predicting Running-Related Injuries Over the Course of a Division I Collegiate Cross-Country Season

Steven Weber, SPT, ATC & Creighton Thompson, SPT

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15 Comments on “The Effectiveness of the Y-Balance Test in Predicting Running-Related Injuries Over the Course of a Division I Collegiate Cross-Country Season

  1. Are the injuries recorded specifically in the lower extremities? What was the most common injury among this population?

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  2. Thanks for the question. Yes, only running related injuries in the lower extremities were recorded during this study. Patellar tendinopathy and medial tibial stress syndrome were the most common injuries found during the study.

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  3. Great job, guys! I thought it was interesting that posteriomedial direction was only significant with the male population. Do you have any hypotheses as to why this may be? My hypothesis is that because women naturally express a larger Q-angle which puts them in a more valgus position to begin with, potentially males experience more stress in this PM position than females do? A position that they aren’t necessarily used to, but is natural for women?

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    • Thanks for the comment Macie. This was an interesting finding because after our research focus on XC athletes, the PM direction was also found to have a significant correlation in males in the Track population as well. Our research group discussed this finding awhile back and we had no biomechanical hypotheses, but I do believe your hypothesis is valid and plausible. Thank you for the input! I can look more into possible gender difference factors and get back to you.

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  4. Very interesting study. I was wondering if there was a difference in the amount of female and male participants? If there is, do you think a small sample size of one gender could have caused the difference between the genders in some of the results?

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    • Thanks for the question Barry. A possible limitation of our study is a small sample size of cross country athletes. There were 9 more females than males in our population of athletes included in the study. This may have played a role in the different results between male and females but with 29 total athletes in the study, the sample size may be too small to make generalizations to the population of runners as a whole. However, this was a good start to the topic of dynamic balance and injury risk in running athletes and may indicate further studies in this area.

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  5. Hey guys, my question regards how soon you think the modified Y-balance test will begin to be implemented to start screening athletes for potential injury risk? Thus taking the modified Y-balance test from the lab to actual preseason athletic screening.

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    • Thanks for the question Carl. When we started our research we were the only study that we know of to look at YBT in specifically the XC population only, so much more research will have to be performed to further validate the results and the effectiveness of the screening tool in this population. With the YBT still being a relatively new tool it is tough to predict a timeline, but if there is further research focus it could be translated into a regular screening tool within the next 5-10 years hopefully.

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  6. Would similar findings be observed in long distance track and field athletes? Cross country runners often train on uneven surfaces which may impact their ground reaction forces, challenge dynamic balance in different ways than running around a track.

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    • Thank you for the question Erik. After our research was published on the XC population we received data analysis results on the track population, and the PM direction in males was found to be significant in both populations but no other similarities were found. With little to no other research currently available on the relationship between YBT and injury in the XC and track populations it is tough to predict similarities in findings, but I do agree with you that these running athletes do have different dynamic balance challenges due to surface and other factors.

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    • Thanks Chesney! I believe that an athlete will likely not experience a significant change in dynamic balance throughout a season’s duration (unless injured), so routinely performing the YBT would likely yield no noticeable difference in results. However, if an athlete suffered a mid-season injury and they have finished their healing/rehab, it may be beneficial to rescreen them to see if their dynamic balance has returned to baseline or is better/worse.

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  7. Great work! I think it’s good you suggested this should be used as a preseason injury screen. Do you think it would be appropriate to use the Y-balance routinely throughout the season to help determine injury risk as the season goes?

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    • Thanks for the question Chesney. I do believe it would be appropriate to use the YBT throughout the season. It would give a good idea of how the athlete is progressing or regressing in terms of dynamic balance. This would again allow the ability to see what the athlete can work on in their strength and conditioning throughout the season.

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  8. Great work guys. Has this test been used with sports such as basketball? Also, do you know if results of this test have been correlated with muscle strength?

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    • Thanks for the question Jon. Yes, there were a few studies that used the YBT with basketball athletes. For example, one study found a correlation with YBT performance and injury in high school basketball players. Muscle strength does play a role in YBT results along with other factors such as flexibility and balance.

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