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First-time anterior cruciate ligament injury in adolescent female elite athletes: a prospective cohort study to identify modifiable risk factors

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PURPOSE: To identify modifiable biomechanical and neuromuscular anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury risk factors for first-time ACL injury in adolescent female elite football and team handball players.

METHODS: Adolescent female elite football and handball players with no previous ACL injury participated in the present study. At baseline, players were tested during side-cutting manoeuvres performed in a 3-dimensional motion analysis laboratory with concomitant electromyography (EMG) measurements. Maximal isometric lower limb muscle strength was assessed by handheld dynamometry. Players were prospectively followed for 2 years after baseline testing, and all magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) verified ACL injuries were registered. The effect of 16 risk factor candidates on the relative risk (RR) of ACL injury was estimated using Poisson regression analysis.

RESULTS: Ninety players (age 16.9 ± 1.2 years) were included in the analyses. Nine first-time ACL injuries (injury incidence 10.0% (95% confidence interval (CI) 5.4-18.6%)) were registered during the 2-year follow-up period. Four risk factor candidates were significantly associated with the risk of ACL injury: (1) hip flexion angle at initial contact (IC) [RR 0.56, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.34-0.92], (2) internal knee rotation angle at IC [RR 1.13, 95% CI 1.08-1.19], (3) semitendinosus EMG activity 50 ms prior to IC [RR: 0.62, 95% CI 0.43-0.89], and (4) external hip rotator strength [RR: 0.77, 95% CI 0.66-0.89].

CONCLUSION: Four distinct ACL injury risk factors related to the side-cutting manoeuvre were identified in a population of adolescent female elite football and team handball players with no previous ACL injury. As ACL injury typically occur during side-cutting, intervention programmes to modify these risk factors pose a promising strategy for ACL injury prevention in adolescent female elite football and team handball.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: II.

Original languageEnglish
JournalKnee surgery, sports traumatology, arthroscopy : official journal of the ESSKA
Volume30
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)1341-1351
Number of pages11
ISSN0942-2056
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022

    Research areas

  • ACL, Biomechanics, Electromyography, Female, Football, Handball, Screening

ID: 70340619