Biomechanical and neuromuscular characteristics of male athletes: implications for the development of anterior cruciate ligament injury prevention programs.

Research paper by Dai D Sugimoto, Eduard E Alentorn-Geli, Jurdan J Mendiguchía, Kristian K Samuelsson, Jon J Karlsson, Gregory D GD Myer

Indexed on: 11 Feb '15Published on: 11 Feb '15Published in: Sports Medicine


Prevention of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury is likely the most effective strategy to reduce undesired health consequences including reconstruction surgery, long-term rehabilitation, and pre-mature osteoarthritis occurrence. A thorough understanding of mechanisms and risk factors of ACL injury is crucial to develop effective prevention programs, especially for biomechanical and neuromuscular modifiable risk factors. Historically, the available evidence regarding ACL risk factors has mainly involved female athletes or has compared male and female athletes without an intra-group comparison for male athletes. Therefore, the principal purpose of this article was to review existing evidence regarding the investigation of biomechanical and neuromuscular characteristics that may imply aberrant knee kinematics and kinetics that would place the male athlete at risk of ACL injury. Biomechanical evidence related to knee kinematics and kinetics was reviewed by different planes (sagittal and frontal/coronal), tasks (single-leg landing and cutting), situation (anticipated and unanticipated), foot positioning, playing surface, and fatigued status. Neuromuscular evidence potentially related to ACL injury was reviewed. Recommendations for prevention programs for ACL injuries in male athletes were developed based on the synthesis of the biomechanical and neuromuscular characteristics. The recommendations suggest performing exercises with multi-plane biomechanical components including single-leg maneuvers in dynamic movements, reaction to and decision making in unexpected situations, appropriate foot positioning, and consideration of playing surface condition, as well as enhancing neuromuscular aspects such as fatigue, proprioception, muscle activation, and inter-joint coordination.