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Female ACL Injury Prevention

Jumping strategies can make a difference...

The Gist: Females may be at a greater risk to anterior cruciate ligament injury during landing-- due to their energy absorption strategy.

We conducted a study with the following objective:

To determine whether gender differences exist in lower extremity joint motions and energy absorption landing strategies between age and skill matched recreational athletes.

Here's the background:

Compared to males, females execute high demand activities in a more erect posture, potentially predisposing the anterior cruciate ligament to greater loads and injury. 

The preferred energy absorption strategy may provide insight for this performance difference.

Here's how we tested it:

Inverse dynamic solutions estimated lower extremity joint kinematics, kinetics and energetic profiles for twelve males and nine females performing a 60 cm drop landing.

"Females also exhibited greater energy absorption and peak powers from the knee extensors and ankle plantar-flexors compared to the males."

Here's what happened:

Females demonstrated a more erect landing posture and utilized greater hip and ankle joint range of motions and maximum joint angular velocities compared to males.

Females also exhibited greater energy absorption and peak powers from the knee extensors and ankle plantar-flexors compared to the males.

Examinations of the energy absorption contributions revealed that the knee was the primary shock absorber for both genders, whereas the ankle plantar-flexors muscles was the second largest contributor to energy absorption for the females and the hip extensors muscles for the males.

And here's my recommendation:

Females may choose to land in a more erect posture to maximize the energy absorption from the joints most proximal to ground contact.

Read the official abstract of this study here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12880714​

Decker MJ1, Torry MRWyland DJSterett WIRichard Steadman J.

WILLIAM (BILL) STERETT, M.D. IS AN ORTHOPAEDIC SURGEON RESIDING IN VAIL, COLORADO. DR. STERETT IS THE HEAD TEAM PHYSICIAN FOR THE US WOMEN’S ALPINE SKI TEAM AND THE MEDICAL DIRECTOR FOR THE VAIL VALLEY SURGERY CENTERS.

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