Association between Inter-Limb Asymmetries in Lower-Limb Functional Performance and Sport Injury: A Systematic Review of Prospective Cohort Studies

J Clin Med. 2022 Jan 12;11(2):360. doi: 10.3390/jcm11020360.


Background: Inter-limb asymmetry in lower-limb functional performance has been associated with increased risk of sport injury; however, findings are not always consistent.

Purpose: To conduct a systematic review on whether inter-limb asymmetry in lower-limb functional performance can predict sport injury.

Methods: Four electronic databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE, Web of Science, and SportDiscus) were systematically searched for prospective cohort studies reporting the association between inter-limb asymmetry in lower-limb functional performance and sport injury.

Results: A total of 28 prospective cohort studies were included in the analyses. Collectively, the findings were highly inconsistent, and a clear statement on the association between each asymmetry and sport injury was difficult.

Conclusions: Highly inconsistent findings make it difficult to create clear recommendations on the relationship between the inter-limb asymmetry in lower-limb functional performance (power, muscle flexibility, and dynamic balance) and sport injury. The influence of potential factors (selection of tests/parameters, participant characteristics, definition of injury, and ways of calculating asymmetry) should be considered when using previous findings.

Keywords: functional performance; injury prediction; lower-limb asymmetry; sport injury.

Publication types

  • Review