Save Your Knees...Stop the Stiff Landings!
The term "Stiff Landings" is exactly what the name implies-landing stiff and upright, and more importantly, landing without utilizing your body's own shock absorption system-the Hips AND Knees. Look at the stick figures attached. According to this study by Devita, P. and Skelly, W; there was a 19-25% difference in impact force in the hips, knees, and ankles comparing the soft landing vs the stiff landing. And this is in a double leg drop jump. Imagine the forces in a single leg jump. As everyone knows, many sports involve single leg impact activities such as jumping, cutting, running. Imagine the impact on the structures of the knee. A recent study by Laughlin, Walter et al shows a single leg stiff landing resulted in a 23% greater peak ACL force. It is no wonder that recent statistics report that up to 70% of ACL injuries are non contact. There is also more to this that athletes should understand. Most people know how important it is to bend your KNEES when you squat or land, but did you know how maybe more important it is to bend your HIPS? An often neglected area of the body and training. If the knees are bending and the hips are not, you might be setting yourself up for injury. When the knee bends and the hips do not, this can place a great amount of anterior shear of the femur on the tibia, and can cause compression load to the patello-femoral joint. When the hips bend first, the knee can function as a true hinge joint and minimize anterior shear and compression. I know it is a lot to grasp. This is why it is important to screen young athletes to help protect their knees and set them up for success! Please invest in your health and schedule a screen.