The Effects of a Lateral In-flight Perturbation on Lower Extremity Biomechanics During Drop Landings

in Journal of Applied Biomechanics
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  • 1 University of South Dakota
  • 2 University of Georgia
  • 3 Western Kentucky University
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One potential ACL injury situation is due to contact with another person or object during the flight phase, thereby causing the person to land improperly. Conversely, athletes often have flight-phase collisions but do land safely. Therefore, to better understand ACL injury causation and methods by which people typically land safely, the purpose of this study was to determine the effects of an in-flight perturbation on the lower extremity biomechanics displayed by females during typical drop landings. Seventeen collegiate female recreational athletes performed baseline landings, followed by either unexpected laterally-directed perturbation or sham (nonperturbation) drop landings. We compared baseline and perturbation trials using paired-samples t tests (P < .05) and 95% confidence intervals for lower-extremity joint kinematics and kinetics and GRF. The results demonstrated that perturbation landings compared with baseline landings exhibited more extended joint positions of the lower extremity at initial contact; and, during landing, greater magnitudes for knee abduction and hip adduction displacements; peak magnitudes of vertical and medial GRF; and maximum moments of ankle extensors, knee extensors, and adductor and hip adductors. We conclude that a lateral in-flight perturbation leads to abnormal GRF and angular motions and joint moments of the lower extremity.

Jae P. Yom is with the Biomechanics Laboratory, University of South Dakota, Vermillion, SD. Kathy J. Simpson and Cathleen N. Brown are with the Biomechanics Laboratory, University of Georgia, Athens, GA. Scott W. Arnett is with the Biomechanics Laboratory, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, KY. Address author correspondence to Jae P. Yom at jae.yom@usd.edu.