Anterior Cruciate Ligament Loading Increases With Pivot-Shift Mechanism During Asymmetrical Drop Vertical Jump in Female Athletes

Ryo Ueno, Alessandro Navacchia, Nathan D. Schilaty, Gregory D. Myer, Timothy E. Hewett, Nathaniel A. Bates

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Frontal plane trunk lean with a side-to-side difference in lower extremity kinematics during landing increases unilateral knee abduction moment and consequently anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury risk. However, the biomechanical features of landing with higher ACL loading are still unknown. Validated musculoskeletal modeling offers the potential to quantify ACL strain and force during a landing task. Purpose: To investigate ACL loading during a landing and assess the association between ACL loading and biomechanical factors of individual landing strategies. Study Design: Descriptive laboratory study. Methods: Thirteen young female athletes performed drop vertical jump trials, and their movements were recorded with 3-dimensional motion capture. Electromyography-informed optimization was performed to estimate lower limb muscle forces with an OpenSim musculoskeletal model. A whole-body musculoskeletal finite element model was developed. The joint motion and muscle forces obtained from the OpenSim simulations were applied to the musculoskeletal finite element model to estimate ACL loading during participants’ simulated landings with physiologic knee mechanics. Kinematic, muscle force, and ground-reaction force waveforms associated with high ACL strain trials were reconstructed via principal component analysis and logistic regression analysis, which were used to predict trials with high ACL strain. Results: The median (interquartile range) values of peak ACL strain and force during the drop vertical jump were 3.3% (–1.9% to 5.1%) and 195.1 N (53.9 to 336.9 N), respectively. Four principal components significantly predicted high ACL strain trials, with 100% sensitivity, 78% specificity, and an area of 0.91 under the receiver operating characteristic curve (P <.001). High ACL strain trials were associated with (1) knee motions that included larger knee abduction, internal tibial rotation, and anterior tibial translation and (2) motion that included greater vertical and lateral ground-reaction forces, lower gluteus medius force, larger lateral pelvic tilt, and increased hip adduction. Conclusion: ACL loads were higher with a pivot-shift mechanism during a simulated landing with asymmetry in the frontal plane. Specifically, knee abduction can create compression on the posterior slope of the lateral tibial plateau, which induces anterior tibial translation and internal tibial rotation. Clinical Relevance: Athletes are encouraged to perform interventional and preventive training to improve symmetry during landing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalOrthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2021


  • ACL
  • finite element
  • knee
  • landing
  • strain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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