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Effects of Altering Trunk Position during Landings on Patellar Tendon Force and Pain

SCATTONE SILVA, RODRIGO1,2; PURDAM, CRAIG R.3; FEARON, ANGELA M.3,4,5; SPRATFORD, WAYNE A.4,5,6; KENNEALLY-DABROWSKI, CLAIRE6; PRESTON, PETER7; SERRÃO, FÁBIO V.2; GAIDA, JAMES E.4,5

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: December 2017 - Volume 49 - Issue 12 - p 2517–2527
doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000001369
Applied Sciences

Purpose This study aimed to verify the immediate effects of altering sagittal plane trunk position during jump landings on lower limb biomechanics, patellar tendon force, and pain of athletes with and without patellar tendinopathy.

Methods Twenty-one elite male athletes were categorized into three groups: athletes with patellar tendinopathy (TG; n = 7), asymptomatic athletes with patellar tendon abnormalities (n = 7), and asymptomatic athletes without tendon abnormalities (CG; n = 7). A biomechanical evaluation was conducted while the athletes performed drop landings from a bench in a self-selected trunk position (SS). Afterward, the athletes were randomly assigned to land with either a flexed trunk position (FLX) or an extended trunk position (EXT). Variables of interest for this study included sagittal plane peak kinematics, kinetics, patellar tendon force, and pain during the landing tasks.

Results Peak patellar tendon force, knee extensor moment, and knee pain decreased in the FLX landing compared with the SS landing, regardless of group. In addition, peak patellar tendon force, knee extensor moment, and vertical ground reaction force were smaller in the FLX landing compared with the EXT landing. The TG had smaller peak ankle dorsiflexion compared with the CG during jump landings, regardless of trunk position.

Conclusions Landing with greater trunk flexion decreased patellar tendon force in elite jumping athletes. An immediate decrease in knee pain was also observed in symptomatic athletes with a more flexed trunk position during landing. Increasing trunk flexion during landing might be an important strategy to reduce tendon overload in jumping athletes.

1Faculty of Health Sciences of Trairi, Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte, Santa Cruz, BRAZIL; 2Department of Physiotherapy, Federal University of São Carlos, São Carlos, BRAZIL; 3Department of Physical Therapies, Australian Institute of Sport, Canberra, AUSTRALIA; 4Department of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Health, University of Canberra, Canberra, AUSTRALIA; 5Research Institute for Sport and Exercise (UCRISE), University of Canberra, Canberra, AUSTRALIA; 6Movement Science, Australian Institute of Sport, Canberra, AUSTRALIA; and 7Canberra Specialist Ultrasound, Canberra, AUSTRALIA

Address for correspondence: James E. Gaida, Ph.D., Department of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Health, University of Canberra, 16 University Avenue, Bruce, 2601 Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia; E-mail: Jamie.Gaida@canberra.edu.au.

Submitted for publication August 2016.

Accepted for publication July 2017.

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© 2017 American College of Sports Medicine