Longitudinal Effects of Maturation on Lower Extremity Joint Stiffness in Adolescent Athletes

ArticleinThe American Journal of Sports Medicine 38(9):1829-37 · September 2010with11 Reads
Impact Factor: 4.36 · DOI: 10.1177/0363546510367425 · Source: PubMed

Yearly changes in active joint stiffness may help explain when neuromuscular sex differences emerge in adolescent athletes that may relate to increased anterior cruciate ligament injury risk in females. Pubertal males would demonstrate increases in knee stiffness while pubertal females would not. Second, postpubertal female athletes would have significantly lower knee joint stiffness than postpubertal male athletes. Cohort Study; Level of Evidence 2 and Cross-Sectional Study; Level of Evidence 3. Two hundred sixty-five females and 50 males participated in 2 testing sessions approximately 1 year apart. The subjects were classified as either pubertal (n = 182, age 12.4 +/- 0.9 years) or postpubertal (n = 133, age 14.5 +/- 1.4 years) based on the modified Pubertal Maturational Observational Scale at each visit. Active joint stiffness of the ankle, knee, and hip was estimated during a drop vertical jump. Stiffness was calculated as the slope of the moment-angle curve from a least squares linear regression during the stance phase. All athletes showed increased active knee stiffness during the span of a year (P < 0.05). However, this increase was not different when stiffness was normalized to body mass. Only males demonstrated greater magnitudes of ankle and hip active stiffness (P < .05). Peak ankle and hip moments, but not knee moments, in postpubertal males were significantly greater than postpubertal females (P < .05). Females had a higher knee to hip moment ratio than males (P < .05). Both males and females showed increased active knee stiffness during the span of a year; males demonstrated increased ankle and hip active stiffness as well. Differences in hip joint posture at initial contact (greater flexion in males) and external hip flexion moment (greater flexion magnitude in males) may indicate that males use a different hip recruitment strategy during drop vertical jumps than females.

    • "Deficits in a variety of these same sensorimotor mechanisms have been correlated with increased ACL injury risk [48-50]. Notably, three studies reported that neuromuscular control of knee motion and landing forces is significantly worse in females than in males during the transition from pre-pubertal to pubertal stages, with females showing regressions in control abilities [51-53]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The increased participation of children and adolescents in organized sports worldwide is a welcome trend given evidence of lower physical fitness and increased prevalence of overweight in this population. However, the increased sports activity of children from an early age and continued through the years of growth, against a background of their unique vulnerability to injury, gives rise to concern about the risk and severity of injury. Three types of injury-anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury, concussion, and physeal injury - are considered potentially serious given their frequency, potential for adverse long-term health outcomes, and escalating healthcare costs. Concussion is probably the hottest topic in sports injury currently with voracious media coverage and exploding research interest. Given the negative cognitive effects of concussion, it has the potential to have a great impact on children and adolescents during their formative years and potentially impair school achievement and, if concussion management is not managed appropriately, there can be long term negative impact on cognitive development and ability to resume sports participation. Sudden and gradual onset physeal injury is a unique injury to the pediatric population which can adversely affect growth if not managed correctly. Although data are lacking, the frequency of stress-related physeal injury appears to be increasing. If mismanaged, physeal injuries can also lead to long-term complications which could negatively affect ability to participate in sports. Management of ACL injuries is an area of controversy and if not managed appropriately, can affect long-term growth and recovery as well as the ability to participate in sports. This article considers the young athlete's vulnerability to injury, with special reference to ACL injury, concussion, and physeal injury, and reviews current research on epidemiology, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of these injury types. This article is intended as an overview of these injury types for medical students, healthcare professionals and researchers.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2014
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    • "Combined with an unexpected decrease in flexion angles at IC, these data indicate that a different muscle activation pattern and energy absorption technique may be utilized during each landing. The mechanisms enacted in the second landing may result in a better screen for risk factors in the sagittal plane due to a clinician's exacerbated ability to discern neuromuscular deficits during higher level tasks (Ford et al., 2010a). The magnitude of hip and knee flexion experienced during jump landing has been associated with ACL injury risk (Myers et al., 2011; Paterno et al., 2010; Pollard et al., 2010). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background: Though the first landing of drop vertical jump task is commonly used to assess biomechanical performance measures that are associated with anterior cruciate ligament injury risk in athletes, the implications of the second landing in this task have largely been ignored. We examined the first and second landings of a drop vertical jump for differences in kinetic and kinematic behaviors at the hip and knee. Methods: A cohort of 239 adolescent female basketball athletes (age=13.6 (1.6) years) completed drop vertical jump tasks from an initial height of 31 cm. A three dimensional motion capture system recorded positional data while dual force platforms recorded ground reaction forces for each trial. Findings: The first landing demonstrated greater hip adduction angle, knee abduction angle, and knee abduction moment than the second landing (P-values<0.028). The second landing demonstrated smaller flexion angles and moments at the hip and knee than the first landing (P-values<0.035). The second landing also demonstrated greater side-to-side asymmetry in hip and knee kinematics and kinetics for both the frontal and sagittal planes (P-values<0.044). Interpretation: The results have important implications for the future use of the drop vertical jump as an assessment tool for anterior cruciate ligament injury risk behaviors in adolescent female athletes. The second landing may be a more rigorous task and provides a superior tool to evaluate sagittal plane risk factors than the first landing, which may be better suited to evaluate frontal plane risk factors.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2013 · Clinical biomechanics (Bristol, Avon)
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    • "The double-leg landing task consisted of a drop landing from a 31.5-cm platform onto the force platforms followed immediately by a maximum vertical jump (Fig. 2(a)), as previously described (Ford et al., 2010). The single-leg landing task consisted of a vertical jump to grab a basketball suspended at a height of 80% of the participant's maximum vertical jump height, a single-leg landing, and an immediate lateral cut in the opposite direction of the landing foot (e.g., landing on the right following by a cut to the left) (Fig. 2(b)). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Excessive knee abduction loading is a contributing factor to anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury risk. The purpose of this study was to determine whether a double-leg landing training program with real-time visual feedback improves frontal-plane mechanics during double- and single-leg landings. Knee abduction angles and moments and vertical ground reaction forces (GRF) of 21 recreationally active women were quantified for double- and single-leg landings before and after the training program. This program consisted of two sessions of double-leg jump landings with real-time visual feedback on knee abduction moments for the experimental group and without real-time feedback for the control group. No significant differences were found between training groups. In comparison with pre-training data, peak knee abduction moments decreased 12% post-training for both double- and single-leg landings; whereas peak vertical GRF decreased 8% post-training for double-leg landings only, irrespective of training group. Real-time feedback on knee abduction moments, therefore, did not significantly improve frontal-plane knee mechanics during landings. The effect of the training program on knee abduction moments, however, transferred from the double-leg landings (simple task) to single-leg landings (more complex task). Consequently, ACL injury prevention efforts may not need to focus on complex tasks during which injury occurs.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2013 · Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports
    0Comments 4Citations
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