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Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2012 Aug;44(8):1497-503. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e31824e8813.

Influence of sex and maturation on knee mechanics during side-step cutting.

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Human Performance Laboratory, Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089, USA.



Females have been reported to have a three to five times greater incidence of noncontact anterior cruciate ligament injury when compared with their male counterparts. Previous research suggests that physical maturation is one factor that is associated with the development of potentially injurious lower extremity biomechanics in female athletes.


The study's purpose was to determine whether lower extremity biomechanics differ between male and female soccer athletes during a cutting maneuver across different stages of maturational development.


One hundred fifty-six soccer players (76 males and 80 females) between the ages of 9 and 23 yr participated. Subjects were classified on the basis of maturation as prepubertal, pubertal, postpubertal, or young adult. Lower extremity kinematics, kinetics, and ground reaction forces (GRFs) were obtained during a 45° side-step cutting maneuver. Differences between sex and maturation were assessed for peak knee valgus angle, knee adductor moments, and GRFs (vertical, posterior, and lateral) during weight acceptance using a two-factor ANCOVA (controlling for approach velocity).


No sex × maturation interactions were found for any variable of interest. On average, females exhibited greater knee abduction and adductor moments than males. Prepubertal athletes demonstrated greater knee adductor moments and GRFs than all other groups.


Biomechanical differences between males and females were evident across all stages of maturation. On average, less mature athletes exhibit biomechanical patterns during cutting that may place them at greater risk for injury than their more mature counterparts.

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