Objectives: In this study, the effects of temporal changes in unanticipated (UN) prelanding stimuli on lower limb biomechanics and the impact of sex and limb dominance on these variables during single-leg landings were determined. It was hypothesised that reductions in the time of prelanding UN stimuli, female sex, and the non-dominant limb would significantly increase high-risk landing biomechanics during UN jump landings.
Methods: 26 (13 men and 13 women) had initial contact (IC) and peak stance (0–50%) phase (PS) lower limb joint kinematics and kinetics quantified during anticipated (AN) and UN single-leg (left and right) landings. Postlanding jump direction was governed via one of two randomly ordered light stimuli, presented either before initiation of the jump (AN), or 600 ms (UN1), 500 ms (UN2) or 400 ms (UN3) immediately before ground contact.
Results: Statistically significant (p<0.05) differences in IC hip posture and PS hip and knee internal rotation moments occurred in UN compared with AN landings. Differences were not observed, however, among UN conditions for any biomechanical comparisons. Significant (p<0.05) differences in specific IC and PS hip and knee postures and loads occurred between sexes and limbs. Neither of these factors, however, influenced movement condition effects.
Conclusion: UN landings induce modifications in landing biomechanics that may increase anterior cruciate ligament injury risk in both men and women. These modifications, however, do not appear overly sensitive to the timing of the UN stimulus, at least within a temporal range affording a successful movement response. Expanding UN training to include even shorter stimulus-response times may promote the additional central control adaptations necessary to manoeuvre safely within the random sports setting.
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