November 2011

Rearfoot landing could reduce ACL injury risk during cutting, pivoting

In the moment: Sports medicine

Landing on the rearfoot instead of the forefoot during cutting and pivoting tasks can decrease knee loading and theoretically reduce the risk of anterior cruciate ligament injury, according to a study from George Mason and Old Dominion universities.

Researchers assessed knee kinematics and kinetics in 20 female soccer players as they performed two unanticipated tasks (sidestep cutting and pivoting) using rearfoot or forefoot landing techniques.

Forefoot landing was associated with significantly higher knee adduction moments than rearfoot landing for both tasks. Knee valgus angle was significantly higher for rearfoot landing than forefoot landing during sidestep cutting, but significantly higher for forefoot landing during pivoting.

The findings, e-published on October 28 by the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, are consistent with those of a Boston University study in which reduced ankle dorsiflexion was associated with limited knee flexion and increased ground reaction forces—both risk factors for ACL injury. The BU study was published in the January-February issue of the Journal of Athletic Training.

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