Variations in jump height explain the between-sex difference in patellar tendon loading during landing
Patellar tendinopathy is the most common overuse knee injury in volleyball, with men reporting more than twice the injury prevalence than women. Although high patellar tendon loading is thought to be a causative factor of patellar tendinopathy, it is unknown whether between-sex variations in landing technique account for differences in patellar tendon loading. It was hypothesized that male volleyball players would display differences in landing technique and would generate higher patellar tendon loading than their female counterparts. The landing technique and patellar tendon loading of 20 male and 20 female volleyball players performing a lateral stop-jump block movement were collected. Independent t-tests were used to identify any between-sex differences in landing technique with the data grouped to account for differences in jump height and in anthropometry. Male volleyball players were taller and heavier, landed from a higher height, displayed differences in landing kinematics, generated a significantly greater knee extensor moment, and experienced higher patellar tendon loading than female players when all 40 participants were compared. However, when participants were matched on jump height, they generated similar patellar tendon loading, irrespective of their sex. These results imply that jump height is a more important determinant of patellar tendon loading than sex.