Knee proprioception and strength and landing kinematics during a single-leg stop-jump task

Takashi Nagai, Timothy C Sell, Anthony J House, John P Abt, Scott M Lephart
Journal of Athletic Training 2013, 48 (1): 31-8

CONTEXT: The importance of the sensorimotor system in maintaining a stable knee joint has been recognized. As individual entities, knee-joint proprioception, landing kinematics, and knee muscles play important roles in functional joint stability. Preventing knee injuries during dynamic tasks requires accurate proprioceptive information and adequate muscular strength. Few investigators have evaluated the relationship between knee proprioception and strength and landing kinematics.

OBJECTIVE: To examine the relationship between knee proprioception and strength and landing kinematics.

DESIGN: Cross-sectional study.

SETTING: University research laboratory.

PATIENTS OR OTHER PARTICIPANTS: Fifty physically active men (age = 26.4 ± 5.8 years, height = 176.5 ± 8.0 cm, mass = 79.8 ± 16.6 kg).

INTERVENTION(S): Three tests were performed. Knee conscious proprioception was evaluated via threshold to detect passive motion (TTDPM). Knee strength was evaluated with a dynamometer. A 3-dimensional biomechanical analysis of a single-legged stop-jump task was used to calculate initial contact (IC) knee-flexion angle and knee-flexion excursion.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S): The TTDPM toward knee flexion and extension, peak knee flexion and extension torque, and IC knee-flexion angle and knee flexion excursion. Linear correlation and stepwise multiple linear regression analyses were used to evaluate the relationships of both proprioception and strength against landing kinematics. The α level was set a priori at .05.

RESULTS: Enhanced TTDPM and greater knee strength were positively correlated with greater IC knee-flexion angle (r range = 0.281-0.479, P range = .001-.048). The regression analysis revealed that 27.4% of the variance in IC knee-flexion angle could be accounted for by knee-flexion peak torque and TTDPM toward flexion (P = .001).

CONCLUSIONS: The current research highlighted the relationship between knee proprioception and strength and landing kinematics. Individuals with enhanced proprioception and muscular strength had better control of IC knee-flexion angle during a dynamic task.

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