Background: Women have higher non-contact anterior cruciate ligament injury rate than men do in sport activities. Non-contact anterior cruciate ligament injuries frequently occur in sports requiring cutting tasks. Alternated motor control strategies have identified as a potential risk factor for the non-contact anterior cruciate ligament injuries. The purpose of this study was to compare the patterns of knee kinematics and electromyographic activities in running, side-cutting, and cross-cutting between men and women recreational athletes.
Methods: Three-dimensional kinematic data of the knee and electromyographic data of selected muscles across the knee joint were collected for 11 men and 9 women recreational athletes in running, side-cutting, and cross-cutting. Regression analyses with dummy variables for comparison of knee motion patterns between men and women.
Results: Women tend to have less knee flexion angles, more knee valgus angles, greater quadriceps activation, and lower hamstring activation in comparison to men during the stance phase of each of the three athletic tasks. Literatures suggest these alternated knee motion patterns of women tend to increase the load on the anterior cruciate ligament.
Conclusion: Women on average may have certain motor control strategies that may alter their knee motion patterns. Women's altered knee motion patterns may tend to increase the load on the anterior cruciate ligament in the selected athletic tasks, which may contribute to the increased anterior cruciate ligament injury rate among women.
Relevance: Non-contact anterior cruciate ligament injuries frequently occur in sports. Altered motor control strategies and lower extremity motion patterns are likely to play an important role in non-contact anterior cruciate ligament injuries. Non-contact anterior cruciate ligament injuries may be prevented by correcting altered motor control strategies and associated lower extremity motion patterns through certain training programs.