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Title: Gender differences in landing biomechanics associated with ACL injury
Author: Hughes, Gerwyn Trefor Gareth
Awarding Body: Swansea University
Current Institution: Swansea University
Date of Award: 2007
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The incidence of non-contact anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury is reported to be 6 to 8 times greater in females than males competing in the same activities. Injury to the ACL occurs as a result of insufficient stability of the tibiofemoral joint, which fails to prevent abnormal movement of the femur on the tibia. The stability of the tibiofemoral joint is maintained by passive (non-contractile) and dynamic (contractile) mechanisms. The relative significance of the various passive and dynamic mechanisms in maintaining the stability of the tibiofemoral joint is not clear. The purpose of the review of literature was to present a risk factor model for ACL injury based on a review of passive and dynamic stability mechanisms. Current evidence suggests that the greater incidence of ACL injury in females is largely due to gender differences in dynamic stability rather than passive stability. The purpose of the present project was to examine gender differences in biomechanics during landing. The project was conducted in three stages. The aim of study one was to investigate the effects of gender on frontal and sagittal plane kinematics and kinetics in university volleyball players when performing opposed block jump landings, using 3-D motion analysis. The results suggest that the gender differences in lower limb alignments in normal upright standing do not totally account for the gender differences in landing kinematics on landing and may indicate less dynamic stability of the knee in females compared to males in the passive phase of landing. The aim of study two was to examine the effect of opposition on the kinematics and kinetics of landing from a volleyball block in male and female university volleyball players. Differences in sagittal plane knee kinematics and kinetics during opposed and unopposed trials suggest that the effect of opposition may significantly alter subjects' neuromuscular responses during landing. However, differences in frontal plane kinematics and kinetics between males and females appear to be consistent in unopposed and opposed conditions. The aim of study three was to investigate lower limb coordination and stiffness in male and female university volleyball players performing block jump landings. The results suggest reduced symmetry between left and right legs and reduced stability of coordination between the left and right knees in females compared to males. Also, males exhibited significantly greater absolute and normalised leg and knee stiffness than females. Overall, the results suggest reduced dynamic stability of the knee in females compared to males which may contribute to the greater incidence of ACL injury in females compared to males. Future research should investigate possible methods of improving the dynamic stability of the knee in females during landing.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available