Whole body kinematics and knee moments that occur during an overhead catch and landing task in sport
Background: Athletes suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury tend to exhibit similar body postures that in sidestep cutting are associated with increased knee moments. This relationship, however, has not been investigated in landing. Catching a ball in different overhead positions may affect landing postures and knee joint moments. This study investigated these possible relationships. It was anticipated that some joint postures would be associated increased knee loads during the landing task. Methods: Twenty-five healthy male team sports athletes performed four variations of a landing task. Full body kinematics were identified at initial contact. Peak flexion, valgus and internal rotation moments at the knee, measured during early landing, were normalized to mass and height and statistically compared. Intra-participant correlations were performed between all kinematics and each moment. Mean slopes for each correlation were used to identify the existence of relationships between full body kinematics and knee joint moments. Findings Landing after an overhead catch when the ball moved towards a player's support leg resulted in increased peak valgus moments. These increased valgus moments were correlated with increased knee flexion, hip flexion, and torso lean, as well as torso rotation towards the support leg, and foot and knee external rotation. Increased internal rotation moments were correlated with reduced hip abduction and external rotation, increased ankle inversion, knee external rotation and torso lean away from the support leg. Interpretation Learning to land with techniques that do not reflect postures associated with high knee moments may reduce an athlete's risk of non-contact anterior cruciate ligament injury.