RESTRICTIONS OF PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT ON MOBILITY AND RANGE OF MOTION ON FIREFIGHTERS
Firefighting personal protective equipment (PPE) and accessories provide limited protection in potentially hazardous environments. However, PPE also induces fatigue, and may impede movement due to the weight and bulky nature of the gear. PURPOSE: The purpose of this experiment was to determine the effects PPE had on full body range of motion (ROM) of 10 experienced firefighters. METHODS: Participants underwent a battery of ROM tests under both the control (undergarments) and PPE conditions. The test battery measurements included: 1) cervical rotation and flexion and extension; 2) shoulder flexion, extension, and abduction; 3) elbow flexion and extension; 4) lumber flexion and extension; 5) hip flexion, extension, and abduction; 6) knee flexion and extension; and 7) ankle plantar and dorsiflexion. Participants were asked to go to full ROM during each measurement. All measurements were taken on both sides of the body, and were measured to the nearest degree using a goniometer and recorded. Data was averaged and analyzed using an ANOVA, with post-hoc t-tests conducted on all significant findings. RESULTS: A significant omnibus result was observed between the control and PPE group (P < 0.001). Post-hoc analysis indicated multiple significant differences: cervical rotation (C: 89.5 ± 1.6°, PPE: 81.7 ± 6.2°, p = 0.001); cervical extension (C: 90.0 ± 0.0°, PPE: 87.4 ± 3.0°, p = 0.02), right shoulder extension (C: 80.7 ± 12.7°, PPE: 71.3 ± 7.9°, p = 0.02); left shoulder flexion (C: 175.4 ± 11.1°, PPE: 167.1 ± 15.0°, p = 0.05), extension (C: 83.6 ± 10.1°, PPE = 74.8 ± 7.0°, p = 0.04), abduction (C: 177.9 ± 3.3°, PPE: 170.1 ± 13.0°, p = 0.04); left elbow flexion (C: 137.2 ± 9.2°, PPE: 128.6 ± 9.3°, p = 0.04); left knee flexion (C: 75.0 ± 12.2°, PPE: 86.5 ± 7.5°, p = 0.01); right ankle plantar flexion (C: 46.6 ± 10.0°, PPE: 37.4 ± 7.0°, p < 0.001); and left ankle plantar flexion (C: 44.1 ± 8.7°, PPE: 38.0 ± 8.2°, p = 0.003). No significant differences existed between the other variables measured. CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggests that PPE has a significant, but varying detrimental effect on ROM of firefighters over the body, including a potentially non-dominant side response, as more differences occurred on the left compared to the right side of the body.
Long, G; Carver, K; Herron, R; Bishop, S; Katica, C; and Ryan, G
"RESTRICTIONS OF PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT ON MOBILITY AND RANGE OF MOTION ON FIREFIGHTERS,"
International Journal of Exercise Science: Conference Proceedings: Vol. 8:
3, Article 15.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wku.edu/ijesab/vol8/iss3/15