Changes in Lower Extremity Biomechanics Due to a Short-Term Fatigue Protocol

J Athl Train. May-Jun 2013;48(3):306-13. doi: 10.4085/1062-6050-48.2.03. Epub 2013 Feb 20.

Abstract

Context: Noncontact anterior cruciate ligament injury has been reported to occur during the later stages of a game when fatigue is most likely present. Few researchers have focused on progressive changes in lower extremity biomechanics that occur throughout fatiguing.

Objective: To evaluate the effects of a sequential fatigue protocol on lower extremity biomechanics during a sidestep-cutting task (SS).

Design: Controlled laboratory study.

Setting: Laboratory.

Patients or other participants: Eighteen uninjured female collegiate soccer players (age = 19.2 ± 0.9 years, height = 1.66 ± 0.5 m, mass = 61.6 ± 5.1 kg) volunteered.

Intervention(s): The independent variable was fatigue level, with 3 levels (prefatigue, 50% fatigue, and 100% fatigue). Using 3-dimensional motion capture, we assessed lower extremity biomechanics during the SS. Participants alternated between a fatigue protocol that solicited different muscle groups and mimicked actual sport situations and unanticipated SS trials. The process was repeated until fatigue was attained.

Main outcome measure(s): Dependent variables were hip- and knee-flexion and abduction angles and internal moments measured at initial contact and peak stance and defined as measures obtained between 0% and 50% of stance phase.

Results: Knee-flexion angle decreased from prefatigue (-17° ± 5°) to 50% fatigue (-16° ± 6°) and to 100% fatigue (-14° ± 4°) (F2,34 = 5.112, P = .004). Knee flexion at peak stance increased from prefatigue (-52.9° ± 5.6°) to 50% fatigue (-56.1° ± 7.2°) but decreased from 50% to 100% fatigue (-50.5° ± 7.1°) (F2,34 = 8.282, P = 001). Knee-adduction moment at peak stance increased from prefatigue (0.49 ± 0.23 Nm/kgm) to 50% fatigue (0.55 ± 0.25 Nm/kgm) but decreased from 50% to 100% fatigue (0.37 ± 0.24) (F2,34 = 3.755, P = 03). Hip-flexion angle increased from prefatigue (45.4° ± 10.9°) to 50% fatigue (46.2° ± 11.2°) but decreased from 50% to 100% fatigue (40.9° ± 11.3°) (F2,34 = 6.542, P = .004). Hip flexion at peak stance increased from prefatigue (49.8° ± 9.9°) to 50% fatigue (52.9° ± 12.1°) but decreased from 50% to 100% fatigue (46.3° ± 12.9°) (F2,34 = 8.639, P = 001). Hip-abduction angle at initial contact decreased from prefatigue (-13.8° ± 6.6°) to 50% fatigue (-9.1° ± 6.5°) and to 100% fatigue (-7.8° ± 6.5°) (F2,34 = 11.228, P < .001). Hip-adduction moment decreased from prefatigue (0.14 ± 0.13 Nm/kgm) to 50% fatigue (0.08 ± 0.13 Nm/kgm) and to 100% fatigue (0.06 ± 0.05 Nm/kg) (F2,34 = 5.767, P = .007).

Conclusions: The detrimental effects of fatigue on sagittal and frontal mechanics of the hip and knee were visible at 50% of the participants' maximal fatigue and became more marked at 100% fatigue. Anterior cruciate ligament injury-prevention programs should emphasize feedback on proper mechanics throughout an entire practice and not only at the beginning of practice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Fatigue / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Hip Joint / physiology
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint / physiology
  • Leg Injuries / physiopathology
  • Lower Extremity / physiology*
  • Soccer / injuries
  • Soccer / physiology*
  • Young Adult