Indexed on: 20 Mar '09Published on: 20 Mar '09Published in: Journal of athletic training
Researchers have suggested that large landing forces, excessive quadriceps activity, and an erect posture during landing are risk factors for anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury. The influence of knee kinematics on these risk factors has been investigated extensively, but trunk positioning has received little attention.To determine the effect of trunk flexion on landing forces and quadriceps activation during landing.Two (sex) x 2 (task) repeated-measures design.Research laboratory.Forty healthy, physically active volunteers (20 men, 20 women).Participants performed 2 drop-landing tasks. The first task represented the natural, or preferred, landing strategy. The second task was identical to the first except that participants flexed the trunk during landing.We measured peak vertical and posterior ground reaction forces and mean quadriceps electromyographic amplitude during the loading phase of landing (ie, the interval from initial ground contact to peak knee flexion).Trunk flexion decreased the vertical ground reaction force (P < .001) and quadriceps electromyographic amplitude (P < .001). The effect of trunk flexion did not differ across sex for landing forces or quadriceps electromyographic activity.We found that trunk flexion during landing reduced landing forces and quadriceps activity, thus potentially reducing the force imparted to the ACL. Research has indicated that trunk flexion during landing also increases knee and hip flexion, resulting in a less erect landing posture. In combination, these findings support emphasis on trunk flexion during landing as part of ACL injury-prevention programs.