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 was the hypothesis: Females may be at a greater risk to anterior cruciate ligament injury during landing-- due to their energy absorption strategy.
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.
Meaning: landing with a straight knee is a major contributing factor for acl injuries for female athletes in "jumping and landing" sports.
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 Demonstrate a More Erect Landing Posture
Females indeed 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:
Ok, we’ve talked about some of these risk factors that make female athletes in jumping and landing sports particulary vulnerable to ACL tears.
Now let’s talk about what we can do to mitigate these risks.
If you are a female athlete playing a "jumping" sports, try this.
Jump and land in a more flexed position
Keep that kneecap over the second toe when you land
So think of LANDING WITH KNEES BENT! If you can do that, you can help to protect that ACL.
Read the official abstract of this study here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12880714