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J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2007 May;37(5):260-8.

Lower extremity muscle activation and alignment during the soccer instep and side-foot kicks.

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Shoulder/Sports Medicine, Hospital for Special Surgery, New York, NY, USA.



Controlled laboratory study.


To quantify phase duration and lower extremity muscle activation and alignment during the most common types of soccer kick-the instep kick and side-foot kick. A second purpose was to test the hypotheses that different patterns of lower extremity muscle activation occur between the 2 types of kicks and between the kicking limb compared to the support limb.


Soccer players are at risk for lower extremity injury, especially at the knee. Kicking the soccer ball is an essential, common, and distinctive part of a soccer player's activity that plays a role in soccer player injury. Regaining the ability to kick is also essential for soccer athletes to return to play after injury.


Thirteen male soccer players underwent video motion analysis and electromyography (EMG) of 7 muscles in both the kicking and supporting lower extremity (iliacus, gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, hamstrings, gastrocnemius) and 2 additional muscles in the kicking limb only (hip adductors, tibialis anterior). Five instep and 5 side-foot kicks were recorded for each player. Analysis-of-variance models were used to compare EMG activity between type of kicks and between the kicking and nonkicking lower extremity.


Five phases of kicking were identified: (1) preparation, (2) backswing, (3) limb cocking, (4) acceleration, and (5) follow-through. Comparing the kicking limb between the 2 types of kick, significant interaction effects were identified for the hamstrings (P = .02) and the tibialis anterior (P<.01). Greater activation of the kicking limb iliacus (P<.01), gastrocnemius (P<.01), vastus medialis (P = .016), and hip adductors (P<.01) occurred during the instep kick. Significant differences were seen between the kicking limb and the support limb for all muscles during both types of kick.


Certain lower extremity muscle groups face different demands during the soccer instep kick compared to the soccer side-foot kick. Similarly, the support limb muscles face different demands than the kicking limb during both kicks. Better definition of lower extremity function during kicking provides a basis for improved insight into soccer player performance, injury prevention, and rehabilitation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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