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Match Play–induced Changes in Landing Biomechanics with Special Focus on Fatigability


Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: September 2019 - Volume 51 - Issue 9 - p 1884–1894
doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000001998

Introduction Growing evidence exists that match-related fatigue induces biomechanical alterations that might increase lower extremity injury risk. Fatigue studies often use match simulation protocols that expose all subjects to a standardized demand (e.g., a fixed distance/time). In those studies, the induced level of fatigue depends then on subjects’ fatigability. If between-subject variability in fatigability is high, this might confound overall fatigue effects. Therefore, the first aim was to investigate whether a fatigue protocol with fixed demand causes alterations in landing patterns. Second, we assessed the relationship between fatigability and landing patterns as we hypothesized that athletes with high fatigability would show movement patterns that involve greater injury risk.

Methods Eighteen athletes performed three different unilateral landing tasks before and after a match simulation protocol while muscle activation (vastus medialis, vastus lateralis, hamstrings medialis, hamstrings lateralis, gastrocnemius medialis, gastrocnemius lateralis, and gluteus medius) and landing kinematics and kinetics of the hip, knee, and ankle joint were recorded. Furthermore, RPE was administered to measure fatigability. ANOVA analyses were conducted to investigate fatigue effects on landing patterns. Correlation analyses assessed the relationship between fatigability (postfatigue RPE) and landing patterns.

Results The ANOVA analyses did not show any overall postfatigue alterations in landing patterns. However, correlation analyses showed an association between fatigability and landing patterns. Athletes who had higher RPE scores showed smaller postfatigue knee flexion angles and smaller pre- and postfatigue knee abduction angles across different landing tasks.

Conclusion The fixed demand protocol did not cause overall alterations in landing patterns. When fatigability was taken into account, high fatigability was related with less optimal landing patterns.

Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation Research Group, Department of Rehabilitation Sciences and Physiotherapy, Faculty of Kinesiology and Rehabilitation Sciences, KU Leuven, Leuven, BELGIUM

Address for correspondence: Annemie Smeets, M.Sc., Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation Research Group, Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Faculty of Kinesiology and Rehabilitation Sciences, KU Leuven, Tervuursevest 101, Bus 1501, 3001 Leuven, Belgium; E-mail:

Submitted for publication November 2018.

Accepted for publication March 2019.

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Online date: April 1, 2019

© 2019 American College of Sports Medicine