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Peak ACL force during jump landing in downhill skiing is less sensitive to landing height than landing position
  1. Dieter Heinrich1,
  2. Antonie J van den Bogert2,
  3. Werner Nachbauer1
  1. 1 Department of Sport Science, University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria
  2. 2 Department of Mechanical Engineering, Cleveland State University, Cleveland, Ohio, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Dieter Heinrich, Department of Sport Science, University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck 6020, Austria; dieter.heinrich{at}


Background Competitive skiers face a high risk of sustaining an ACL injury during jump landing in downhill skiing. There is a lack of knowledge on how landing height affects this risk.

Objectives To evaluate the effect of varied landing height on peak ACL force during jump landing and to compare the effect of the landing height with the effect of the landing position varied by the trunk lean of the skier.

Methods A 25-degree-of-freedom sagittal plane musculoskeletal model of an alpine skier, accompanied by a dynamic optimisation framework, was used to simulate jump landing manoeuvres in downhill skiing. First, a reference simulation was computed tracking experimental data of competitive downhill skier performing a jump landing manoeuvre. Second, sensitivity studies were performed computing 441 landing manoeuvres with perturbed landing height and trunk lean of the skier, and the corresponding effects on peak ACL force were determined.

Results The sensitivity studies revealed that peak ACL force increased with jump height and backward lean of the skier as expected. However, peak ACL was about eight times more sensitive to the trunk lean of the skier compared with landing height. The decreased sensitivity of the landing height was based on the lower effects on the knee muscle forces and the shear component of the knee joint reaction force.

Conclusion Preventive measures are suggested to focus primarily on avoiding trunk backward lean of the skier, and consequently on proper jump preparation and technique, and secondarily on strategies to reduce landing height during jumps.

  • skiing
  • risk factor
  • trunk
  • ACL

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  • Contributors DH and WN designed and planned the study. All authors contributed to data acquisition, analysis and interpretation. DH wrote the initial draft of the manuscript. WN and AJvdB revised the manuscript critically. All authors approved the final version of the manuscript and agreed to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Ethics approval The study did not involve human or animal subjects.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement No additional data are currently available.