Comparison of Side-cutting Maneuvers Versus Low Impact Baseball Swing on Knee Ligament Loading in Adolescent Populations

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Clinical Biomechanics


Background: High impact sports are associated with an increased incidence rate for knee ligament injuries, specifically pertaining to the anterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament. What is less clear is (i) the extent to which high impact activities preferentially load the anterior cruciate ligament versus the medial collateral ligament, and (ii) whether both ligaments experience similar stretch ratios during high loading sce-narios. Therefore, the goal of this project was to assess how different loading conditions experienced through more at-risk sporting maneuvers influence the relative displacements of the anterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament. The focus of the study was on adolescent patients - a group that has largely been overlooked when studying knee ligament biomechanics.Methods: Through kinetic knee data obtained through motion capture experimentation, two different loading conditions (high vs low impact) were applied to 22 specimen-specific adolescent finite element knee models to investigate the biomechanical impact various sporting maneuvers place on the knee ligaments.Findings: The high impact side cutting maneuver resulted in 102% and 47% increases in ligament displacement compared to the low impact baseball swing (p < 0.05) for both the anterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament.Interpretation: Quantifying biomechanical risks that sporting activities place on adolescent subjects provides physicians with insight into knee ligament vulnerability. More specifically, knowing the risks that various sports place on ligaments helps guide the selection of sports for at-risk patients (especially those who have undergone knee ligament surgery).