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Jumping Mechanics and Patellar Tendinopathy

Studies have extensively analyzed the possible link between jumping and landing mechanics with overuse injuries of the lower extremity, specifically the patellar tendon (more commonly known as jumper’s knee). Factors that have shown a relationship to patellar tendinopathy include:

  • Rate of force development as it relates to knee extensor moment/torque during the eccentric phases of both take-off and landing
  • Knee angular velocity during eccentric phases of both take-off and landing
  • Ankle and knee flexion at the time of initial ground contact upon landing
  • Ankle, knee and hip range of motion during the landing (from initial ground contact to the time of peak vertical ground reaction force)

The combination of smaller flexion range of motion of the lower body joints (stiff landing), higher moment/torque at the knee, and higher knee angular velocities are risk factors for patellar tendinopathy, as well as predictors of current or previous patellar injury.  The overuse or microtrauma of the patellar tendon is thought to mostly occur in the eccentric phases of the jump, where the elongation of the tendon faces higher loads and the minor damage becomes cumulative due to high repetition and a lack of rest to allow for repair. Thus, training intensity and frequency play a significant role in the development of any overuse injury.

Using Gears Sports 3D motion and force plate analysis, kinetic and kinematic red flags can be identified.  This valuable data gives trainers, coaches and therapists an incredible tool to ensure the long-term health and performance of their athletes by having access to the underlying movement mechanics as the athlete executes their sport-specific skill in a game-like setting.

References:

  • Bahr R, Holme I. Risk factors for sports injuries: a methodological approach. Br J Sports Med 2005;37:384-92.
  • Bisseling RW, Hof AL, Bredeweg SW, et al. Relationship between landing strategy and patellar tendinopathy in volleyball. Br J Sports Med 2007;41:e8.
  • Bisseling RW, Hof AL, Bredeweg SW, et al. Are the take-off and landing phase dynamics of the volleyball spike jump related to patellar tendinopathy? Br JSports Med 2008;42:483-489.
  • Bisseling RW, Hof AL. Handling of impact forces in inverse dynamics. J Biomech 2006;39:2438-44.
  • Cook JL, Khan KM, Maffulli N, et al. Overuse tendinosis, not tendinitis, part 2: applying the new approach to patellar tendinopathy. Physician Sportsmed 2000;28:31-46.
  • Decker MJ, Torry MR, Wyland DJ, et al. Gender differences in lower extremity kinematics, kinetics and energy absorption during landing. Clin Biomech 2003;18:662-9.
  • Lian O, Refsnes P-E, Engebretsen L, et al. Performance characteristics of volleyball players with patellar tendinopathy. Am J Sports Med 2003;31:408-13.
  • Louw Q, Grimmer K, Vaughan C. Knee movement patterns of injured and uninjured adolescent basketball players when landing from a jump: a case-control study. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2006;7:22.
  • Onate JA, Guskiewicz KM, Marshall SW et al. Instruction of jump-landing technique using videotape feedback: altering lower extremity motion patterns. Am J Sports Med 2005;33:831-42.
  • Purdam CR, Cook JL, Hopper DM, et al. Discriminative ability of functional loading tests for adolescent jumper’s knee. Phys Ther Sport 2003;4:3–9.
  • Reeser JC, Verhagen E, Briner WW, et al. Strategies for the prevention of volleyball related injuries. Br J Sports Med 2006;40:594-600.
  • Rosen AB, Ko J, Simpson KJ, et al. Lower extremity kinematics during a drop jump in individuals with patellar tendinopathy. Orthop J Sports Med 2015;3.
  • Sheehan FT, Drace JE. Human patellar tendon strain. Clin Orthop Related Res 2000;370:201-7.
  • Wu G, Siegler S, Allard P, et al. ISB recommendation on definitions of joint coordinate system of various joints for the reporting of human joint motion, part I: ankle, hip, and spine. International Society of Biomechanics. J Biomech 2002;35:543-8.
  • Zwerver J, Bredeweg SW, Hof AL. Biomechanical analysis of the single-leg decline squat. Br J Sports Med 2007;41:264-8.

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