Relationship between landing strategy and patellar tendinopathy in volleyball

Rob W Bisseling, At L Hof, Steef W Bredeweg, Johannes Zwerver, Theo Mulder
British Journal of Sports Medicine 2007, 41 (7): e8

OBJECTIVE: The aetiology of patellar tendinopathy (jumper's knee) remains unclear. To see whether landing strategy might be a risk factor for the development of this injury, this study examined whether landing dynamics from drop jumps differed among healthy volleyball players (CON) and volleyball players with a jumper's knee. The patients with jumper's knee were divided into an asymptomatic group with a previous jumper's knee (PJK) and a symptomatic group with a recent jumper's knee (RJK).

METHODS: Inverse dynamics analyses were used to estimate lower extremity joint dynamics from 30, 50 and 70 cm drop jumps in the three groups (CON, n = 8; PJK, n = 7; RJK, n = 9). A univariate repeated measures analysis of variance was used to compare the different landing techniques.

RESULTS: Data analysis of the landing dynamics revealed that PJK showed higher knee angular velocities (p<0.01), and higher ankle plantar flexion moment loading rate (p<0.01). Furthermore, strong tendencies of higher loading rate of vertical ground reaction force (p = 0.05) and higher knee extensor moment loading rate (p = 0.08) were found compared with CON. Higher values for peak knee moment, peak knee power and knee work (all p<0.01) were found for CON compared with RJK. The comparison of the two jumper's knee groups yielded higher knee angular velocities (p<0.01), together with higher ankle plantar flexion and knee extensor moment loading rate (p<0.01 and p<0.05, respectively).

CONCLUSION: Where RJK used a landing technique to avoid high patellar tendon loading, PJK used a stiffer landing strategy, which may be a risk factor in the development of patellar tendinopathy.

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