Getting Your Kicks

Motion-kick analysis helps researchers discover how soccer injuries differ by gender.

MSN Health and Fitness—July 10, 2009

New research might help future generations of soccer players stay injury-free.

Studies from Hospital for Special Surgery explored soccer kick dynamics based on gender. They used video motion analysis to look at the kicking motion differences between males and females. During motion analysis, the kick is looked at from two different angles simultaneously. The activity of each of the muscles involved is measured based on electrical impulse. "But you also need to know what the body is doing when you are taking the readings. Is it kicking? Standing? And so on," says Sherry Backus, PT, DPT, MA, advanced clinician at the hospital's motion analysis lab and co-author on the paper, in a press release.

The findings show that compared to women, males have more activation in the hip flexors of their kicking leg and in their hip abductors of the supporting leg. The knee of the supporting leg in females assumes more of a knock-kneed position, which puts more stress on the outside of the knee joint and can lead to an increased likelihood of ACL injuries.

Future Mia Hamms and David Beckhams should breathe a sigh of relief. We’re one step closer to better treatment and prevention for knee injuries in future soccer stars.

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