Effects of an age-specific anterior cruciate ligament injury prevention program on lower extremity biomechanics in children.
Implementing an anterior cruciate ligament injury prevention program to athletes before the age at which the greatest injury risk occurs (15-17 years) is important from a prevention standpoint. However, it is unknown whether standard programs can modify lower extremity biomechanics in pediatric populations or if specialized training is required.To compare the effects of traditional and age-specific pediatric anterior cruciate ligament injury prevention programs on lower extremity biomechanics during a cutting task in youth athletes. The authors hypothesized that the age-specific pediatric program would result in greater sagittal plane motion (ie, hip and knee flexion) and less motion in the transverse and frontal plane (ie, knee valgus, knee and hip rotation) as compared with the traditional program.Randomized controlled trial; Level of evidence, 1.Sixty-five youth soccer athletes (38 boys, 27 girls) volunteered to participate. The mean age of participants was 10 ± 1 years. Teams (n, 7) were cluster randomized to a pediatric injury prevention program, a traditional injury prevention program, or a control group. The pediatric program was modified from the traditional program to include more feedback, progressions, and variety. Teams performed their programs as part of their normal warm-up routine. Three-dimensional lower extremity biomechanics were assessed during a sidestep cutting task before and after completion of the 9-week intervention period.The pediatric program reduced the amount of knee external rotation at initial ground contact during the cutting task, F ((2,62)) = 3.79, P = .03 (change: pediatric, 7.73° ± 10.71°; control, -0.35° ± 7.76°), as compared with the control group after the intervention period. No other changes were observed.The injury prevention program designed for a pediatric population modified only knee rotation during the cutting task, whereas the traditional program did not result in any changes in cutting biomechanics. These findings suggest limited effectiveness of both programs for athletes younger than 12 years of age in terms of biomechanics during a cutting task.
DiStefano, LJ; Blackburn, JT; Marshall, SW; Guskiewicz, KM; Garrett, WE; Padua, DA
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