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An Interval Kicking Progression for Return to Soccer Following Lower Extremity Injury.

Authors: Arundale A, Silvers H, Logerstedt D, Rojas J, Snyder-Mackler L

The majority of all soccer injuries affect the lower extremities. Regardless of whether the injured limb is an athlete’s preferred kicking or stance leg, a lower extremity injury may affect their ability to impact the ball. Sport-specific biomechanical progressions to augment loading and gradually reintroduce a player to the demands of sport have been developed for upper extremity sports such as baseball, softball, tennis, and golf. Generalized return to soccer progressions have also been published in order to assist clinicians in safely returning athletes to sport; however, there are no specific progressions for the early stages of kicking designed to introduce stance leg loading and kicking leg impact. Thus, the purpose of this study was to clinical commentary was to review the existing literature elucidating the biomechanics of kicking a soccer ball and propose a progressive kicking program to support clinicians in safely returning their soccer athletes to the demands of sport.   The interval kicking program (IKP) describes clinical guidelines for readiness to begin a kicking program as well as possible readiness to return to sport measures. The program is performed on alternate days integrating therapeutic exercise and cardiovascular fitness. The IKP gradually introduces a player to the loading and impact of kicking. The progression increases kicking distance (using the markings of a soccer field as a guide), volume, and intensity and uses proposed soreness rules, effusion guidelines, and player feedback in order to assist clinicians in determining readiness for advancement though the stages. The IKP also recommends utility of specific tests and measures to determine readiness for return to sport. 

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