The effects of neuromuscular training on knee joint motor control during sidecutting in female elite soccer and handball players

Clin J Sport Med. 2008 Jul;18(4):329-37. doi: 10.1097/JSM.0b013e31817f3e35.


Objective: The project aimed to implement neuromuscular training during a full soccer and handball league season and to experimentally analyze the neuromuscular adaptation mechanisms elicited by this training during a standardized sidecutting maneuver known to be associated with non-contact anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury.

Design: The players were tested before and after 1 season without implementation of the prophylactic training and subsequently before and after a full season with the implementation of prophylactic training.

Participants: A total of 12 female elite soccer players and 8 female elite team handball players aged 26 +/- 3 years at the start of the study.

Intervention: The subjects participated in a specific neuromuscular training program previously shown to reduce non-contact ACL injury.

Methods: Neuromuscular activity at the knee joint, joint angles at the hip and knee, and ground reaction forces were recorded during a sidecutting maneuver. Neuromuscular activity in the prelanding phase was obtained 10 and 50 ms before foot strike on a force plate and at 10 and 50 ms after foot strike on a force plate.

Results: Neuromuscular training markedly increased before activity and landing activity electromyography (EMG) of the semitendinosus (P < 0.05), while quadriceps EMG activity remained unchanged.

Conclusions: Neuromuscular training increased EMG activity for the medial hamstring muscles, thereby decreasing the risk of dynamic valgus. This observed neuromuscular adaptation during sidecutting could potentially reduce the risk for non-contact ACL injury.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries*
  • Athletic Injuries / prevention & control*
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Cohort Studies
  • Electromyography
  • Female
  • Hip Joint / physiology
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint / physiology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Physical Education and Training / methods*
  • Range of Motion, Articular / physiology
  • Soccer
  • Sports