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Bull Hosp Jt Dis. 1998;57(1):30-8.

A quantitative analysis of knee joint kinematics during the sidestep cutting maneuver. Implications for non-contact anterior cruciate ligament injury.

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  • 1Department of Human Movement Studies, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.


This study accurately quantifies the knee joint kinematics associated with sidestep cutting maneuvers in vivo. These data were subsequently evaluated to determine the relationship between sidestep cutting and non-contact anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury. Sixteen male subjects, proficient in the sidestep cutting maneuver, had knee joint kinematic data recorded during the stance phase of straight line running and sidestep cutting. Cutting speeds (5.5 msec-1 to 7.0 msec-1) and angles (30 degrees to 55 degrees) were chosen to reflect the sporting context. All subjects underwent medical screening prior to testing to ensure data represented joint biomechanics of healthy, ACL intact individuals. The temporal three dimensional positions of externally mounted (skin) markers were submitted to a custom software package (JTMOTION), which described in clinically meaningful terms, movements for the three rotational degrees of freedom at the knee joint. While mean patterns of motion for the three clinical knee rotations compared favorably between running and cutting data, sidestepping induced significantly (p < 0.01) greater maximum knee joint rotations during stance. Knee joint rotational ranges were also found to be significantly (p < 0.01) larger during cutting when compared to running. Increases in knee joint kinematics during cutting however, were not of a great enough magnitude to alone elicit spontaneous non-contact ACL injury, falling well within "safe" ranges of knee motion. Significant increases in inter-trial variability for the three rotations were observed in some subjects for sidestepping compared to running. It was concluded that a lack of consistency in knee joint biomechanics between cutting maneuvers increased the risk of ACL injury with the performance of an abnormal and potentially hazardous sidestep being more likely. The risk of non-contact ACL injury during cutting maneuvers was suggested to increase further when an individual displayed these "atypical" joint biomechanics in conjunction with specific joint structures, levels of experience and conditioning, and ligament morphologies.

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