Young Females Exhibit Decreased Coronal Plane Postural Stability Compared to Young Males

HSS Journal Online First Article

Robert H. Brophy, MD
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Washington University, St. Louis, MO

Jonathon R. Staples, MD
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Washington University, St. Louis, MO

John Motley, PT
Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation (STAR), Chesterfield, MO

Ryan Blalock, MD
Department of Orthopedic Surgery, University of Texas Health Sciences Center at Houston, Houston, TX

Karen Steger-May, MA
Division of Biostatistics, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO

Mark Halstead, MD
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Washington University, St. Louis, MO


Female athletes are at significantly higher risk of noncontact ACL injury than males, particularly in pivoting sports such as soccer and basketball. Sex-based differences in proprioception and core stability may contribute to this elevated risk.

This study evaluates a novel method of assessing dynamic stability to test the hypothesis that healthy adolescent controls have sex-based differences in postural stability.

Seventy-nine male and 72 female subjects completed three rounds of dynamic postural stability testing. During the assessment, subjects attempted to stabilize their torso and upper body in response to random movements of the platform. The total time a subject lasted on the platform and dynamic motion analysis (DMA) score, a summation of motion in five planes throughout testing, was calculated for each subject. The average score for each subject was included in the analysis.

Males lasted longer on the platform (98 ± 14 s) than females (94 ± 13 s) (p = 0.04). Coronal plane and rotation stability differed significantly between genders (323 ± 126 vs. 365 ± 128, p = 0.04) and (318 ± 82 vs. 403 ± 153, p = 0.0002), respectively. No statistically significant difference was seen in the other planes of motion.

Females have less dynamic postural stability than their male counterparts in the coronal plane based on a novel assessment tool. This finding may contribute to better understanding of sex-based differences in rates of injury such as noncontact ACL tears.

This Online First article was published online on SpringerLink in July 2015.
View the full article at

About the HSS Journal

HSS Journal, an academic peer-reviewed journal, is published twice a year, February and September, and features articles by internal faculty and HSS alumni that present current research and clinical work in the field of musculoskeletal medicine performed at HSS, including research articles, surgical procedures, and case reports.



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