Functional eccentric-concentric ratio of knee extensors and flexors in pre-pubertal children, teenagers and adult males and females

M De Ste Croix, M Deighan, N Armstrong
International Journal of Sports Medicine 2007, 28 (9): 768-72
The purpose of this study was to examine the age and sex associated differences in the eccentric/concentric functional ratio for the knee. Isokinetic concentric and eccentric knee extension and flexion was measured at 0.52 rad x s (-1) and 3.14 rad x s (-1) in 121 subjects. Other than mass there were no significant age-by-sex interaction effects for all variables examined. A significant velocity-by-age group effect was demonstrated for ECC (KF)/CON (KE) with higher ratios at 3.14 compared to 0.52 rad x s (-1). Females' CON (KF)/ECC (KE) was significantly lower than males at both velocities. Adults demonstrated significantly lower CON (KF)/ECC (KE) than the teenagers at 0.52 rad x s (-1) and lower than the prepubertal and teenager groups at 3.14 rad x s (-1). However, for ECC (KF)/CON (KE) at 3.14 rad x s (-1), prepubertal ratios were significantly lower than teenagers and adults. The results of the current study suggest that functional rather than conventional ratio should be used when examining knee stability. During fast velocity movements, prepubertal children have a lower capacity for generating eccentric compared to concentric torque. The lower CON (KF)/ECC (KE) ratio in adults appears to be due to a greater ability to generate large eccentric torques at all slow and fast movement velocities. The lower CON (KF)/ECC (KE) ratio in females is a product of lower concentric torque as opposed to high eccentric torque producing capability as previously thought.

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