Gender Differences in the Kinematics of Unanticipated Cutting in Young Athletes

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Abstract

Purpose:

Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries occur at a greater rate in adolescent females compared with males who participate in the same pivoting and jumping sports. The purpose of this study was to compare knee and ankle joint angles between males and females during an unanticipated cutting maneuver. The hypotheses were that female athletes would display increased knee abduction, increased ankle eversion and decreased knee flexion during the unanticipated cutting maneuver compared with males.

Methods:

Fifty-four male and 72 adolescent female middle and high school basketball players volunteered to participate in this study. Knee and ankle kinematics were calculated using three-dimensional motion analysis during a jump-stop unanticipated cut (JSUC) maneuver.

Results:

Females exhibited greater knee abduction (valgus) angles compared with males. Gender differences were also found in maximum ankle eversion and maximum inversion during stance phase. No differences were found in knee flexion angles at initial contact or maximum.

Conclusion:

Gender differences in knee and ankle kinematics in the frontal plane during cutting may help explain the gender differences in ACL injury rates. Implementation of dynamic neuromuscular training in young athletes with a focus on frontal plane motion may help prevent ACL injuries and their long-term debilitating effects.

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