Mend Physical Therapy Blog and Injury Information

Increased Lower Body Injury Risk Found After Concussion

September 7, 2022

Rates of concussion have increased in recent years likely secondary to both an increase in sports participation and better recognition and diagnosis of symptoms. We have seen an increase in patients presenting with concussion symptoms in our Boulder Physical Therapy practice Athletes who sustain a concussion can report a variety of symptoms including headache, neck pain, poor balance , and delayed reaction time. The time to recovery is affected by many factors including severity of the initial injury, treatment following injury, previous history of concussions, and post injury treatment and Physical Therapy. In addition, to tracking the brain and nervous system’s recovery from these injuries, researchers are also exploring the future risks of injury in the extremities following an initial concussion. A recent systematic review of the research documents the increased risk of lower extremity injury following this injury.

Ramirez and colleagues conducted a review of the available literature on the relationship between concusion and lower extremity injury risk (IJSPT. 2022). Authors included 7 research studies on close to 350 college athletes who sustained concussion and compared their injury rates to their non concussed peers. Authors reported athletes who sustained a concussion were 58% more likely to injury their lower extremity (RR 1.58) compared to their non concussed peers in the same sport. Authors hypothesize changes in the nervous system and muscular system including altered reaction time and balance (proprioception) may be responsible for this increased risk.

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