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Gender Differences in Landing Mechanics Vary Depending on the Type of Landing

Butler, Robert J. PT, DPT, PhD*; Willson, John D. PT, PhD; Fowler, Donald MD; Queen, Robin M. PhD‡,§

Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine: January 2013 - Volume 23 - Issue 1 - p 52–57
doi: 10.1097/JSM.0b013e318259efa0
Original Research

Objective: Men and women exhibit different movement patterns, which are thought to contribute to the increased incidence of anterior cruciate ligament injuries in females. Although gender differences have been observed in movement, few studies have examined gender differences during different types of landings.

Design: Prospective gender comparison study.

Setting: Controlled laboratory study.

Patients: Fourteen male and 14 female recreational soccer players were recruited for the study. All subjects performed a soccer-specific jump heading activity to examine differences in landing mechanics before and after heading the soccer ball. Subjects began the task by performing a forward jump onto 2 force platforms (landing 1) and conducting a countermovement before jumping up to head a soccer ball that was hanging above the force platform before, then landing back on the force platforms (landing 2).

Main Outcome Measures: A 2-way analysis of variance (gender × landing) was performed to examine the interaction between gender and different types of landings on sagittal plane joint mechanics.

Results: Significant interactions existed for the peak hip extension moment and vertical ground reaction force where the male players exhibited increased values during the second landing compared with the female players. Males exhibited greater peak plantarflexion and knee extension moments, but decreased peak hip flexion. Main effects for landing exhibited lower kinematic and larger kinetic values except for the peak plantarflexion moment.

Conclusions: Female and male players appear to land differently depending on the type of landing. Therefore, specificity of landing type may be important to consider when screening for injury risk factors.

Clinical Relevance: This study examines the differences between genders during 2 different landing tasks and demonstrates the importance of considering the jumping task when screening individuals for injury risk factors.

*Division of Physical Therapy, Department of Community Health and Family Medicine, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina

Department of Health Professions, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, La Crosse, Wisconsin

Department of Orthopedics, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina

§Michael W. Krzyzewski Human Performance Research Laboratory, Department of Orthopedics, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina.

Corresponding Author: Robert J. Butler, PT, DPT, PhD, Duke University, DUMC 104002, Durham, NC 27705 (

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Received November 3, 2011

Accepted April 11, 2012

Copyright © 2013 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.