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Comparison of the Abdominal Wall Muscle Thickness in Female Rugby Players Versus Non-Athletic Women: A Cross-Sectional Study

1
Faculty of Sport Sciences, Universidad Europea de Madrid, Villaviciosa de Odón, 28670 Madrid, Spain
2
Department of Physiotherapy, University of Seville, Avicena Street, 41011 Sevilla, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Medicina 2020, 56(1), 8; https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina56010008
Received: 20 November 2019 / Revised: 18 December 2019 / Accepted: 20 December 2019 / Published: 25 December 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ultrasound in Sports Medicine: Current Concepts and Advances)
Background and Objectives: Rugby players engage in demanding, high loading muscular activity in the spine. Study of the abdominal wall architecture in female rugby athletes is relevant to the possible muscular asymmetry secondary to sport practice and the relationship between the abdominal wall and the pelvic floor muscles. Activation of the transversus abdominis (TrAb) generates an increase in the bladder neck muscle. Moreover, an increased interrecti distance (IRD) is related to urinary incontinence and has a higher prevalence in athletic women. The aim of the present study was to compare and quantify, with ultrasound imaging (USI), the thickness of the transversus abdominis (TrAb), external oblique (EO), internal oblique (IO), rectus abdominis (RA), and interrecti distance (IRD) in female rugby players versus non-athletic women in order to improve upon existing knowledge about abdominal wall configuration in female athletes. Materials and Methods: A sample of 32 women was recruited at the Universidad Europea Research Lab and divided in two groups: a rugby group (n = 16) and a non-athletic women group (n = 16). The thickness of the TrAb, EO, IO, RA, and IRD were assessed by USI in both groups. Results: There were statistically significant differences for the ultrasound evaluation thickness of the right TrAb (p = 0.011; d = 0.10), EO (p = 0.045; d = 0.74), IO (p = 0.003; d = 1.32), and RA (p = 0.001; d = 1.38) showing a thickness increase for the rugby group with respect to the control group. For the IRD thickness, there were no significant differences (p > 0.05) between groups. Conclusions: An increased TrAb, IO, EO, and RA thickness may be shown in female rugby players versus non-athletic women. Nevertheless, statistically relevant differences were not found for the IRD between both groups. View Full-Text
Keywords: ultrasound imaging; rugby players; oblique abdominals; transversus abdominis; rectus abdominis; female athletes; pelvic floor disorders; urinary incontinence ultrasound imaging; rugby players; oblique abdominals; transversus abdominis; rectus abdominis; female athletes; pelvic floor disorders; urinary incontinence
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Abuín-Porras, V.; de la Cueva-Reguera, M.; Benavides-Morales, P.; Ávila-Pérez, R.; de la Cruz-Torres, B.; Pareja-Galeano, H.; Blanco-Morales, M.; Romero-Morales, C. Comparison of the Abdominal Wall Muscle Thickness in Female Rugby Players Versus Non-Athletic Women: A Cross-Sectional Study. Medicina 2020, 56, 8.

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