Identification of preferred landing leg in athletes previously injured and uninjured: A brief report

Kevin R. Ford, Laura C. Schmitt, Timothy E. Hewett, Mark V. Paterno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background The preferred or dominant limb is often subjectively defined by self-report. The purpose was to objectively classify preferred landing leg during landing in athletes previously injured and uninjured. Methods Subjects with a history of anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (n = 101) and uninjured controls (n = 57) participated. Three trials of a drop vertical jump were collected. Leg dominance was defined as the leg used to kick a ball while landing leg preference was calculated as the leg which landed first during landing trials. Limb symmetry index was also calculated during a single leg hop battery. The distribution of subjects that landed first on their uninvolved or dominant leg, respectively, was statistically compared. Limb symmetry from the single leg hop tests were compared within each subgroup. Findings The distribution of preferred landing leg to uninvolved limb for injured (71%) and dominant limb for controls (63%) was not statistically different between groups (P = 0.29). Limb symmetry was decreased in injured subjects that preferred to land on their uninvolved limb compared to their involved limb during single leg (P < 0.001), triple (P < 0.001), cross-over (P < 0.001), and timed hops (P = 0.007). Differences in limb symmetry were not statistically different in controls (P > 0.05). Interpretation The leg that first contacts the ground during landing may be a useful strategy to classify preferred landing leg. Among the injured subjects, 29% preferred to land on their involved leg, which may relate to improved confidence and readiness to return to sport, as improved limb symmetry was present during hop tests.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-116
Number of pages4
JournalClinical Biomechanics
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


  • Anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction
  • Dominant limb
  • Drop vertical jump
  • Landing biomechanics
  • Limb asymmetries
  • Preferred landing leg

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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