October 2010

Study identifies gender differences in biomechanics of kicking in soccer

In the moment: Sports medicine

By Jordana Bieze Foster

Gender differences in leg alignment and muscle activation during a soccer kick may in turn help explain gender differences in knee injury risk, according to research from the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City.

Investigators used motion analysis and electromyography to assess 13 male and 12 female college soccer players while kicking a soccer ball. They found that in the supporting leg, gluteus medius activation in the male players was more than twice that seen in the female players. The female players also demonstrated greater degrees of mean hip adduction in the supporting leg than male players.

“Activation of the hip abductors may help protect players against ACL injury,” said Robert H. Brophy, MD, an assistant professor of orthopedics at Washington University in St. Louis and first author of the study, which was published in the Sept. 1 issue of the American version of the Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.

Male players also had greater activation of the vastus medialis, which may be protective against patellofemoral injury.

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