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BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2006 Mar 7;7:22.

Knee movement patterns of injured and uninjured adolescent basketball players when landing from a jump: a case-control study.

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  • 1Department of Physiotherapy, Stellenbosch University, P O Box 19063, Tygerberg, 7505, South Africa. qalouw@sun.ac.za



A common knee injury mechanism sustained during basketball is landing badly from a jump. Landing is a complex task and requires good coordination, dynamic muscle control and flexibility. For adolescents whose coordination and motor control has not fully matured, landing badly from a jump can present a significant risk for injury. There is currently limited biomechanical information regarding the lower limb kinetics of adolescents when jumping, specifically regarding jump kinematics comparing injured with uninjured adolescents. This study reports on an investigation of biomechanical differences in landing patterns of uninjured and injured adolescent basketball players.


A matched case-control study design was employed. Twenty-two basketball players aged 14-16 years participated in the study: eleven previously knee-injured and eleven uninjured players matched with cases for age, gender, weight, height and years of play, and playing for the same club. Six high-speed, three-dimensional Vicon 370 cameras (120 Hz), Vicon biomechanical software and SAS Version 8 software were employed to analyse landing patterns when subjects performed a "jump shot". Linear correlations determined functional relationships between the biomechanical performance of lower limb joints, and paired t-tests determined differences between the normalised peak biomechanical parameters.


The average peak vertical ground reaction forces between the cases and controls were similar. The average peak ground reaction forces between the cases and controls were moderately correlated (r = -0.47). The control (uninjured) players had significantly greater hip and knee flexion angles and significantly greater eccentric activity on landing than the uninjured cases (p < 0.01).


The findings of the study indicate that players with a history of knee injuries had biomechanically compromised landing techniques when compared with uninjured players matched for gender, age and club. Descriptions (norms) of expected levels of knee control, proprioceptive acuity and eccentric strength relative to landing from a jump, at different ages and physical developmental stages, would assist clinicians and coaches to identify players with inappropriate knee performance comparable to their age or developmental stage.

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