Background: Gender differences in lower extremity motion patterns were previously identified as a possible risk factor for non-contact anterior cruciate ligament injuries in sports.
Hypothesis: Gender differences in lower extremity kinematics in the stop-jump task are functions of age for youth soccer players between 11 and 16 years of age.
Study design: Descriptive laboratory study.
Methods: Three-dimensional videographic data were collected for 30 male and 30 female adolescent soccer players between 11 and 16 years of age performing a stop-jump task. The age effects on hip and knee joint angular motions were compared between genders using multiple regression analyses with dummy variables.
Results: Gender and age have significant interaction effects on standing height (P = .00), body mass (P = .00), knee flexion angle at initial foot contact with the ground (P = .00), maximum knee flexion angle (P = .00), knee valgus-varus angle (P = .00), knee valgus-varus motion (P = .00), and hip flexion angle at initial foot contact with the ground (P = .00).
Conclusion: Youth female recreational soccer players have decreased knee and hip flexion angles at initial ground contact and decreased knee and hip flexion motions during the landing of the stop-jump task compared to those of their male counterparts. These gender differences in knee and hip flexion motion patterns of youth recreational soccer players occur after 12 years of age and increase with age before 16 years.
Clinical relevance: The results of this study provide significant information for research on the prevention of noncontact anterior cruciate ligament injuries.