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Motion analysis helps soccer players get their kicks
Date:7/9/2009

e cameras and create a three dimensional picture of the person going through the kicking motion. From there we can match up, frame by frame, the electrical signals we get from the muscles with what the person is doing."

The researchers found that male and female players do differ in both of these areas. Male players have more activation in the hip flexors of their kicking leg and in their hip abductors of the supporting leg compared to women. "The hip abductor may be protective against ACL injury and it is interesting that its activation was markedly diminished in women," said Dr. Brophy, now an assistant professor in the department of orthopaedic surgery at Washington University in St. Louis and head team physician for the St. Louis Athletica professional women's soccer club. In addition, the knee of the supporting leg in female players assumes a more knock-kneed, or valgus, position, putting more stress on the outside of the knee joint. These two differences, low activation of the hip abductor and the knee position, could be a factor in the increased ACL injuries seen in female soccer players.

Female players also do not activate their medial quad muscles in their standing leg, one way male players could be protecting their patellofemoral joint from injury. The hip flexor activation, however, in their kicking leg could correlate to the pattern of sports hernia seen in male soccer players. With more than eighteen million people playing soccer in the United States, according to the latest FIFA (Fdration Internationale de Football Association) survey, understanding the body mechanics specific to the sport could potentially prevent a large number of injuries from occurring.

"It is a logical extension to think about how our data could be connected to injury patterns," said Dr. Brophy. "And what we found tells us that the role of muscle activation and leg alignment in injury definitely warrants further investigation."

"In investigating
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Contact: Phyllis Fisher
fisherp@hss.edu
212-606-1197
Hospital for Special Surgery
Source:Eurekalert

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