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Muscles Ligaments Tendons J. 2017 May 10;7(1):136-146. doi: 10.11138/mltj/2017.7.1.136. eCollection 2017 Jan-Mar.

Effects of the menstrual cycle on lower-limb biomechanics, neuromuscular control, and anterior cruciate ligament injury risk: a systematic review.

Author information

1
Leeds General Infirmary, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Leeds, UK.
2
Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, London, UK.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury has a devastating impact on physical and psychological disability. Rates of ACL rupture are significantly greater in females than males during the same sports. Hormonal mechanisms have been proposed but are complex and poorly understood. This systematic review evaluates the effects of menstrual cycle on: 1) lower-limb biomechanics, 2) neuromuscular control, and 3) ACL injury risk.

METHODS:

The MEDLINE, CINAHL, SPORTSDiscus, Web of Science, and Google Scholar databases were searched from inception to August 2016 for studies investigating the effects of the menstrual cycle on lower-limb biomechanics, neuromuscular control, and ACL injury risk in females. Three independent reviewers assessed each paper for inclusion and two assessed for quality.

RESULTS:

Seventeen studies were identified. There is strong evidence that: 1) greatest risk of ACL injury is within the pre-ovulatory phase of the menstrual cycle, and 2) females with greater ACL laxity in the pre-ovulatory phase experience greater knee valgus and greater tibial external rotation during functional activity.

CONCLUSION:

Females are at greatest risk of ACL injury during the pre-ovulatory phase of the menstrual cycle through a combination of greater ACL laxity, greater knee valgus, and greater tibial external rotation during functional activity.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:

Ib.

KEYWORDS:

biomechanics; cruciate; ligament; menstrual; neuromuscular

Conflict of interest statement

Conflicts of interest This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

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