Preventive Biomechanics: A Paradigm Shift with a Translational Approach to Injury Prevention

Timothy E. Hewett, Nathaniel A. Bates

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Background: Preventive medicine techniques have alleviated billions of dollars' worth of the economic burden in the medical care system through the implementation of vaccinations and screenings before the onset of disease symptoms. Knowledge of biomechanical tendencies has progressed rapidly over the past 20 years such that clinicians can identify, in healthy athletes, the underlying mechanisms that lead to catastrophic injuries such as anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) ruptures. As such, preventive medicine concepts can be applied to noncontact musculoskeletal injuries to reduce the economic burden of sports medicine treatments and enhance the long-term health of athletes. Purpose: To illustrate the practical medical benefits that could be gained from preventive biomechanics applied to the ACL as well as the need and feasibility for the broad implementation of these principles. Study Design: Literature review. Methods: The recent literature pertinent to the screening and prevention of musculoskeletal injuries was reviewed and compiled into a clinical commentary on the current state and applicability of preventive biomechanics. Results: Investigators have identified neuromuscular training protocols that screen for and correct the underlying biomechanical deficits that lead to ACL injuries. The literature shows that when athletes comply with these prescribed training protocols, the incidence of injuries is significantly reduced within that population. Such preventive biomechanics practices employ basic training methods that would be familiar to athletic coaches and have the potential to save billions of dollars in cost in sports medicine. Conclusion: The widespread implementation of preventive biomechanics concepts could profoundly affect the field of sports medicine with a minimum of initial investment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2654-2664
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017


  • anterior cruciate ligament injury
  • injury risk classification
  • motion analysis
  • motion capture
  • neuromuscular training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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