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The influence of asymptomatic hypermobility on unanticipated cutting biomechanics

Background: Generalized joint hypermobility is an important risk factor for knee injuries, including to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). Examining movement patterns specific to hypermobile individuals during sport-specific movements could facilitate development of targeted recommendations and injury prevention programs for this population. Hypothesis: Asymptomatic hypermobile participants will present kinematics measures suggestive of a greater risk of noncontact knee or ACL injuries. Study Design: Cross-sectional study. Level of Evidence: Level 3. Methods: Forty-two (15 asymptomatic hypermobile and 27 nonhypermobile) individuals performed unanticipated side-step cutting on their dominant and nondominant legs. Ankle, knee, hip, pelvis, and trunk angles in all planes of motion were collected during the first 100 ms after initial contact using a 3-dimensional infrared system. Precontact foot-ground angles were also extracted. Data from hypermobile and nonhypermobile groups were compared using multiple regression models with sex as a confounder. When nonsignificant, the confounder was removed from the model. Effect sizes (Hedge g) were calculated in the presence of significant between-group differences. Results: Hypermobile individuals presented with lower minimum knee valgus angles with a mean difference of 3.5° (P = 0.03, Hedge g = 0.69) and greater peak knee external rotation angles with a mean difference of −4.5° (P = 0.04, Hedge g = 0.70) during dominant leg cutting, and lower peak ankle plantarflexion angles with a mean difference of 4.5° (P = 0.03, Hedge g = 0.73) during nondominant leg cutting compared with nonhypermobile individuals. Conclusion: Based on current scientific evidence, however, the identified differences are not crucial biomechanical injury risk factors that could predispose asymptomatic hypermobile individuals to noncontact knee or ACL injuries. Clinical Relevance: Further research is needed to highlight differences between hypermobility groups. Knowledge of the differences between these groups may change the physical activity recommendations, prevention of injury, and rehabilitation approaches.
Journal Article
Type of thesis
Sage Publications Inc
This is an author’s accepted version of an article published in the journal: Sports Health: A Multidisciplinary Approach. © 2021 Sage.