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Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2008 Sep 15;33(20):2160-5. doi: 10.1097/BRS.0b013e31817d6db3.

Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis and exercising: is there truly a liaison?

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Cross-sectional observational study.


Evaluation and comparison of the prevalence of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) among 2 groups of patients (athletes and nonathletes) to determine whether athletic activities are related to the development of AIS.


The potential association between AIS and exercising remains uncertain. The latter has often been considered as a therapeutic means and a causative factor of the former.


A group of 2387 adolescents (boys: 1177, girls: 1210, mean age: 13.4 years) was evaluated. All completed a questionnaire concerning personal, somatometric, and secondary sex characteristics, type, duration and character of daily-performed physical activities, and existing cases of AIS among relatives. Patients were classified into 2 groups according to their answers; "athletes" and "nonathletes." The groups were comparable as far as age, height, weight, onset of menstruation, family history of scoliosis, and side of handedness were concerned. Children underwent physical examination by 3 orthopedic surgeons who were unaware of their level of athletic activities. Children considered, by all, to be suspicious of suffering from scoliosis, underwent further radiographic evaluation.


In 99 cases (athletes: 48, nonathletes: 51), AIS was radiographically confirmed (Cobb angle >10 degrees). No statistically significant difference was found between athlete and nonathlete adolescents (P = 0.842), athlete and nonathlete boys (P = 0.757), and athlete and nonathlete girls (P = 0.705), as far as the prevalence of AIS was concerned. The mean value of the Cobb angle of the main scoliotic curve was not statistically different between male athletes and nonathletes (P = 0.45) and female athletes and nonathletes (P = 0.707). With the Cobb threshold reset at 20 degrees, no statistically significant differences were detected either.


Our results demonstrate that systematic exercising is probably not associated with the development of AIS. Actively participating in sports activities doesn't seem to affect the degree of the main scoliotic curve either.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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