Methods: This was a prospective, randomized, controlled experimental pilot study. Seventeen healthy male junior athletes (age, 17-20 years) training in middle distance running were recruited from local Swedish athletic associations. Hip extension ability and running velocity were measured before and after the study period. Chiropractic investigations comprised motion palpation of the sacroiliac and hip joints and modified Thomas test of the ability to extend the leg. In the treatment group, findings of restrictive joint dysfunctions formed the basis for the choice of chiropractic treatment. The interventions were based on a pragmatic approach consisting of high-velocity, low-amplitude manipulations targeted toward, but not exclusively to, the sacroiliac joints.
Results: The treatment group showed significantly greater hip extension ability after chiropractic treatment than did controls (P < .05). Participants in the treatment group did not show a significant decrease in time for running 30 m after treatment (average, −0.065 seconds; P = .0572), whereas the difference was even smaller for the control subjects (average, −0.003; P = .7344).
Conclusions: The results imply that chiropractic treatment can improve hip extensibility in subjects with restriction as measured by the modified Thomas test. It could be speculated that the running step was amplified by increasing the angle of step through facilitated hip joint extension ability. The possible effect of chiropractic treatment to enhance the running velocity, by increasing the hip joint extension ability and thereby increasing the running step, remains unproven.
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