Sex differences in force attenuation: A clinical assessment of single-leg hop performance on a portable force plate

Division of Occupational and Physical Therapy, The Sports Medicine Biodynamics Center, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, 3333 Burnet Avenue, MLC 10001, Cincinnati, OH 45229-3039, USA.
British Journal of Sports Medicine (Impact Factor: 5.03). 10/2009; 45(3):198-202. DOI: 10.1136/bjsm.2009.061788
Source: PubMed


Impaired biomechanics and neuromuscular control have been suggested as probable links to female sex bias in the onset of patellofemoral pain syndrome. There are limited objective, clinical measures for assessment of impaired biomechanics and neuromuscular control. The primary objective of this investigation was to examine sex differences in vertical ground reaction force (vGRF) and force loading rate in young athletes performing maximum, repeated vertical single-leg hops (RVSHs). The authors hypothesised that females would demonstrate greater vGRF and force loading rate than males and show interlimb differences in force attenuation.
Cross-sectional study.
Paediatric sports medicine clinic.
109 Healthy high school, soccer and basketball athletes.
Participants performed RVSHs for 15 seconds on a portable force plate with a sampling rate of 400 Hz (Accupower; AMTI, Watertown, Massachusetts, USA).
Raw vGRF was filtered with a generalised cross-validation spline using a 50-Hz cutoff frequency and then normalised to potential energy. Force loading rate was calculated by dividing normalised vGRF by time-to-peak force. Group means were compared using analysis of variance.
The females demonstrated significantly greater normalised vGRF (p<0.001) and force loading rate (p<0.001) during landing than their male counterparts. Neither sex demonstrated significant interlimb differences in force attenuation (p>0.05).
The female athletes may have altered force attenuation capability during RVSHs as identified by increased vGRF and force loading rate compared with the male athletes. Portable force plates may be potential tools to identify altered force attenuation in clinical settings.

11 Reads
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: ACL injuries are common, often devastating injuries that lead to short-term disability and long-term sequelae, many of which lack effective treatment, such as osteoarthritis. Therefore, prevention of ACL injury is currently the only effective intervention for these life-altering sequelae, while much of the literature has a rehabilitative focus. The primary long-term purpose of our multidisciplinary collaborative research team has been to develop ACL injury prevention programs by determining which factors related to ACL injury should be altered, followed by how and when they should be altered. Our primary study objectives were to determine: (1) modifiable risk factors; (2) how these factors can best be modified; and (3) when is the best time to diminish these risk factors. Throughout the course of various studies, we determined the modifiable factors related to increased ACL injury risk. Our research team then focused on exploring numerous ways to augment these factors to maximize prevention efforts. We developed a sequence of prevention models that provide a framework to monitor progress toward the ultimate goal of preventing ACL injuries. The modifiable factors shown in our work include biomechanical and neuromuscular functionality. When targeted in physical training, we have determined that these factors can be enhanced to effectively aid in the prevention of ACL injuries. Preliminary data have shown that childhood and early adolescence may be valuable periods to implement such training. Current evidence has led to the evolution of clinical assessment tools for high-risk athletes and interventions for large populations and specific high-risk individuals. Targeted intervention implemented at the specified developmental stage of highest risk may be the final step toward the maximal reduction of ACL injury risk in young athletes.
    Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research 06/2012; 470(10):2930-40. DOI:10.1007/s11999-012-2440-2 · 2.77 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Release for full activity and return to sport after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR) is often dictated by time from surgery and subjective opinion by the medical team. Temporal guidelines for return to sport may not accurately identify impaired strength and neuromuscular control, which are associated with increased risk for second injury (contralateral and/or ipsilateral limb) after ACLR in athletes. Athletes undergoing ACLR and returning to sport would demonstrate functional deficits that would not be associated with time from surgery. Controlled laboratory study. Thirty-three male (n = 10) and female (n = 23) athletes with unilateral ACLR, who were cleared by a physician to return to their sport after surgery and rehabilitation, performed the single-legged vertical hop test for 10 seconds on a portable force plate. Matched teammates of each patient were recruited to serve as sex-, sport-, and age-matched controls (CTRL; n = 67). Maximum vertical ground-reaction force (VGRF) was measured during each single-limb landing. Single-limb symmetry index (LSI) was calculated as the ratio of the involved divided by uninvolved limb, expressed as a percentage. The single-limb vertical jump height LSI was reduced in the ACLR group, 89% (95% confidence interval [CI], 83%-95%), compared with the matched CTRL group, 101% (95% CI, 96%-105%; P < .01). The LSI for VGRF normalized to potential energy achieved during flight of the hop was increased in ACLR at 112% (95% CI, 106%-117%) relative to the CTRL group at 102% (95% CI, 98%-106%; P < .01). Linear regression analysis indicated that time from surgery was not associated with limb symmetry deficits in the ACLR group (P > .05; R (2) = .002-.01). Deficits in unilateral force development (vertical jump height) and absorption (normalized VGRF) persist in an athlete's single-limb performance after ACLR and full return to sports. These symmetry deficits appear to be independent of time after reconstruction. On the basis of these results, clinicians should consider assessment of single-limb power performance in the decision-making process for return-to-sport release. Persistent side-to-side asymmetries may increase the risk of contralateral and/or ipsilateral injury.
    The American Journal of Sports Medicine 08/2012; 40(10):2256-63. DOI:10.1177/0363546512454656 · 4.36 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background: The adolescent 'growth spurt' results in rapid growth of the skeletal system. It has been theorised that absence of a concomitant increase in muscular adaptations in female athletes may predispose them to an increased risk of anterior cruciate ligament injuries. Objectives: To determine if sex differences exist in landing biomechanics and postural stability of adolescent athletes; with a further objective of determining if such differences are propagated during adolescence. Data sources: The following databases were searched: MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, PEDro, PubMed, SPORTDiscus and Web of Science. Research papers were identified by including search terms for neuromuscular control, lower limb and pubertal development. Inclusion criteria: Studies were required to be written in English; report on biomechanical analyses; include landing or postural control tasks; be cross-sectional or longitudinal; and include healthy adolescent/pubertal subjects. Study appraisal and synthesis methods: A modified version of the Strengthening the Reporting of Observational studies in Epidemiology checklist was used to rate methodological quality. Meta-analyses were performed when more than one study reported on an outcome measure. Results: Sixteen articles were included. The overall methodological quality of evaluated studies was low (mean score = 5.75/10 points). Adolescent females exhibited increased knee valgus with increasing maturity. There was no consensus on sex differences in postural stability. Conclusions: With increasing maturation, females are characterized by increased knee valgus during landing tasks. To date, no research has longitudinally investigated postural stability development during adolescence in females, despite the importance of postural control training in injury prevention programmes. Therefore, further research on this topic is warranted.
    11/2015; DOI:10.1007/s40279-015-0416-6