The effects of an unanticipated side-cut on lower extremity kinematics and ground reaction forces during a drop landing

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Unanticipated direction to cut after landing may alter the lower extremity landing biomechanics when performing landing motions. These alterations may potentially increase the risk of ACL injury. The purpose of this study was to determine if an unanticipated side-cut affects lower extremity landing biomechanics in females. Eighteen recreational female athletes participated in two blocks of testing: the first block of testing consisted of three acceptable trials of anticipated dominant limb and non-dominant limb 45-degree diagonal cutting after landing, which were performed in a counterbalanced order. The second block of testing consisted of three acceptable trials of unanticipated dominant limb and non-dominant limb diagonal cutting after landing. Data analysis mainly focused on the dominant limb landing biomechanics. Unanticipated side-cut landing, compared (paired t-test, p < 0.05) to the anticipated landings, resulted in less hip abduction and tibial internal rotation angle at initial contact (IC) and a lower maximum ankle inversion angle and a greater maximum knee abduction angle, and knee and hip displacement. Also, greater posterior GRF and a longer time to peak medial GRF were exhibited. These outcomes indicate that athletes may adapt their landing mechanics to land unsafely when encountering an unanticipated event.

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