Biomechanical Differences in Knee Valgus Angles in Collegiate Female Athletes Participating in Different Sports

L. Derek Gerber, Evan V. Papa, Eydie A. Kendall


Background: Dynamic knee valgum is a major risk factor in ligamentous injuries of the knee. Different sports have higher rates of knee ligament injury than others and females experience knee non-contact ligament injuries at higher rates than their male counterparts. Objectives: The purpose of this study was to investigate the lower extremity biomechanics of genu valgum in female collegiate athletes of various sports while performing a drop jump test. This information may provide those designing individualized prevention programs assistance in reducing risk of knee ligamentous injury during jumping tasks. Methods: Current members of Idaho State University’s women’s basketball, soccer, and softball teams were evaluated for this study. Thirty-seven athletes participated. Motion capture reflective markers were placed bilaterally on the lower extremities to allow for analysis of knee biomechanics during a double-leg drop jump test. The angles of knee valgum in the frontal plane were calculated and analyzed between sport groups. Results: Female athletes of different sports displayed statistically significant differences in knee angles for both right, and left knees. Post hoc analysis with a Bonferroni adjustment revealed that basketball players utilized a more valgus right knee angle compared to both soccer and softball players and a more varus left knee angle compared with softball players. Conclusions: Our study suggests that collegiate-level female basketball players have an increased risk of right leg non-contact knee ligament injury during jump landing maneuvers when compared to collegiate level softball and soccer players due to increased knee valgus movements during the drop jump test. Collegiate-level female basketball players may benefit from biomechanical exercise interventions designed to decrease right knee valgus moments in jumping and landing to decrease their risk of injury.


Knee, Female, Athletes, Ligaments, Genu Valgum, Knee Injuries

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