Differences in Hip and Knee Running Moments across Female Pubertal Development

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Abstract

Purpose

This study aimed to investigate whether knee and hip running moments differ across stages of female pubertal development.

Methods

This was a cross-sectional study comparing the barefoot running moments of 91 prepubertal (n = 31, Tanner stage I), early/midpubertal (n = 30, Tanner stages II and III), and late/postpubertal (n = 30, Tanner stages IV and V) girls. External peak moments for knee abduction (KAbM), knee adduction (KAM), knee flexion (KFM), and knee internal rotation (KIRM) were analyzed. Secondary measures of hip adduction moment at the time of peak KAbM and hip flexion moment at the time of peak KFM were also derived. Between-group differences were analyzed using a series of one-way ANOVAs and ANCOVAs.

Results

At the knee, the late/postpubertal girls displayed a higher peak KFM and KAM compared with the prepubertal group (P < 0.05), and the early/midpubertal group exhibited a higher peak KFM than the prepubertal group (P = 0.034). No between-group differences were found for peak KAbM or KIRM (P > 0.05). At the hip, both the late/postpubertal (P = 0.03) and early/midpubertal girls (P = 0.039) ran with a lower hip adduction moment at the time of peak KAbM than the prepubertal girls. The hip flexion moment at the time of peak KFM in late/postpubertal girls was also significantly lower than both the early/mid- and prepubertal girls (P < 0.001).

Conclusion

Girls at the latter stages of puberty exhibit higher peak external knee flexion and adduction moments, but not abduction or internal rotation moments. This may be partly attributed to a lower hip flexion but higher hip abduction moment at the time of peak knee moments. Future research should examine whether these differences in knee kinetics between pubertal stages have implications for knee injuries such as patellofemoral pain syndrome.

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