Kinematics and electromyography of landing preparation in vertical stop-jump: risks for noncontact anterior cruciate ligament injury

Jonathan D Chappell, R Alexander Creighton, Carol Giuliani, Bing Yu, William E Garrett
American Journal of Sports Medicine 2007, 35 (2): 235-41

BACKGROUND: Biomechanical analysis of stop-jump tasks has demonstrated gender differences during landing and a potential increase in risk of noncontact anterior cruciate ligament injury for female athletes. Analysis of landing preparation could advance our understanding of neuromuscular control in movement patterns and be applied to the development of prevention strategies for noncontact anterior cruciate ligament injury.

HYPOTHESIS: There are differences in the lower extremity joint angles and electromyography of male and female recreational athletes during the landing preparation of a stop-jump task.

STUDY DESIGN: Controlled laboratory study.

METHODS: Three-dimensional videographic and electromyographic data were collected for 36 recreational athletes (17 men and 19 women) performing vertical stop-jump tasks. Knee and hip angular motion patterns were determined during the flight phase before landing.

RESULTS: Knee and hip motion patterns and quadriceps and hamstring activation patterns exhibited significant gender differences. Female subjects generally exhibited decreased knee flexion (P = .001), hip flexion (P = .001), hip abduction (P = .001), and hip external rotation (P = .03); increased knee internal rotation (P = .001); and increased quadriceps activation (P = .001) compared with male subjects. Female subjects also exhibited increased hamstring activation before landing but a trend of decreased hamstring activation after landing compared with male subjects (P = .001).

CONCLUSION: Lower extremity motion patterns during landing of the stop-jump task are preprogrammed before landing. Female subjects prepared for landing with decreased hip and knee flexion at landing, increased quadriceps activation, and decreased hamstring activation, which may result in increased anterior cruciate ligament loading during the landing of the stop-jump task and the risk for noncontact ACL injury.

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