This study examined the relationship between leg preference and knee mechanics in females during sidestepping. Three-dimensional data were recorded on 16 female collegiate footballers during a planned 45° sidestep manoeuvre with their preferred and non-preferred kicking leg. Knee kinematics and kinetics during initial contact, weight acceptance, peak push-off, and final push-off phases of sidestepping were analysed in both legs. The preferred leg showed trivial to small increases (ES = 0.19-0.36) in knee flexion angle at initial contact, weight acceptance, and peak push-off, and small increases (ES = 0.21-0.34) in peak power production and peak knee extension velocity. The non-preferred leg showed a trivial increase (ES = 0.10) in knee abduction angle during weight acceptance; small to moderate increases (ES = 0.22-0.64) in knee internal rotation angle at weight acceptance, peak push-off, and final push-off; a small increase (ES = 0.22) in knee abductor moment; and trivial increases (ES = 0.09-0.14) in peak power absorption and peak knee flexion velocity. The results of this study show that differences do exist between the preferred and non-preferred leg in females. The findings of this study will increase the knowledge base of anterior cruciate ligament injury in females and can aid in the design of more appropriate neuromuscular, plyometric, and strength training protocols for injury prevention.
Keywords: Soccer; anterior cruciate ligament; injury prevention; knee joint.