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ACL injury prevention- part 2 (Quadriceps Dominance)

Just for your recall female tends to land from a jump with less knee flexion than males. Quadriceps dominance refers to the tendency to stabilize the knee joint by primarily using the quadriceps muscles. Women appear to preferentially use the quadriceps more than males in order to stiffen & stabilizing the knee joint. If we look at this closely when females contract their quadriceps it extends their knee, which likely relates to the more extended knee position observed during an ACL injury.

If you look at the anatomy of the knee, Quadriceps stiffen and compress the tibiofemoral joint. The common quadriceps tendon attaches to the superior patella and then attaches via the infrapatellar tendon to the tibial tubercle on the anterior tibia. When the quadriceps contract they pull the tibia (shin bone) anterior relative to the femur.

The biomechanical problem is that the ACL serves to hold the tibia posteriors (or check anterior translation), and when female athletes use her quadriceps to stabilize the joint she induces and anterior shear stress to the tibia and therefore also to the ACL. If an athlete preferentially uses the quadriceps instead of the posterior chain muscles to control the limb, she uses the quadriceps a single muscle with a single tendon insertion for stability and control.

This is In contrast to using the group of posterior chain muscle that can be selectively utilized to control the limb during tasks. Why posterior chain muscles? the hamstrings are able to increase flexion at the knee, which provides a better position (mechanical advantage) for using the muscle to absorb force the hamstrings are considered a synergist with the ACL & able to pull the tibia posteriorly thereby decrease the stress on the ACL.

Our Approach

Dublin Sports Injury Clinic is a Physical Therapy Clinic based in Pearse Street, Dublin 2. We have a holistic approach to our assessment and treatment. The initial assessment helps us to explore the Risk Factors. As a part of your session, we will educate you regarding the Risk Factors more in details and we show you the current research studies. We design a customized training program to start you with (depend on your sport) and we will coach you closely step by step. The timeline and period of the program could be varied for every individual. We do not only coach you on the physical aspects, we also help you to develop the mental aspects of your game.

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Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. You can contact us if you would like to book an appointment or get some advice from our therapist.