By Emily Delzell
Interactions between gender and footwear type affect landing mechanics in soccer players, according to research e-published in April in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports.
Investigators at Duke University in Durham, NC, conducted motion analysis on 28 competitive soccer players (aged 18-30 years, 14 women) performing a jump heading task. Athletes started at a position several feet from the force plates’ center, jumped over a 7.5-cm cone, and landed with one foot on each force plate (dynamic landing). Volunteers then jumped as quickly as possible, performing a jump header then landing on the force plates (static landing). Each athlete completed the task in running shoes, bladed cleats, and turf shoes.
In the most rigid footwear (bladed cleats), women had less ankle and knee motion following the static landing compared with men, suggesting that the cleats exacerbate the previously established tendency for women to land with a stiffer lower extremity than men, which may strain connective tissues. Investigators recommend screening sport-specific landing mechanics under sport-specific conditions for training interventions aimed at injury prevention.
Butler RJ, Russell ME, Queen R. Effect of soccer footwear on landing mechanics. Scand J Med Sci Sports 2012 Apr 20. [Epub ahead of print]