Gender differences in frontal and sagittal plane biomechanics during drop landings

Thomas W Kernozek, Michael R Torry, Heather VAN Hoof, Hanni Cowley, Suzanne Tanner
Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 2005, 37 (6): 1003-12; discussion 1013

PURPOSE: To determine gender differences in lower-extremity joint kinematics and kinetics between age- and skill-matched recreational athletes.

METHODS: Inverse dynamic solutions estimated the lower-extremity flexion-extension and varus-valgus kinematics and kinetics for 15 females and 15 males performing a 60-cm drop landing. A mixed model, repeated measures analysis of variance (gender (*) joint) was performed on select kinematic and kinetic variables.

RESULTS: Peak hip and knee flexion and ankle dorsiflexion angles were greater in females in the sagittal plane (group effect, P < 0.02). Females exhibited greater frontal plane motion (group (*) joint, P = 0.02). Differences were attributed to greater peak knee valgus and peak ankle pronation angles (post hoc tests, P = 0.00). Females exhibited a greater range of motion (ROM) in the sagittal plane (group main effect, P = 0.02) and the frontal plane (group (*) joint, P = 0.01). Differences were attributed to the greater knee varus-valgus ROM, ankle dorsiflexion, and pronation ROM (post hoc tests). Ground reaction forces were different between groups (group (*) direction, P = 0.05). Females exhibited greater peak vertical and posterior (A/P) force than males (post hoc tests). Females exhibited different knee moment profiles (Group main effect, P = 0.01). These differences were attributed to a reduced varus moment in females (post hoc tests).

CONCLUSION: The majority of the differences in kinematic and kinetic variables between male and female recreational athletes during landing were observed in the frontal plane not in the sagittal plane. Specifically, females generated a smaller internal knee varus moment at the time of peak valgus knee angulation.

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