Effect of Fatigue on Hamstring Reflex Responses and Posterior-Anterior Tibial Translation in Men and Women

Behrens, Martin; Mau-Moeller, Anett; Wassermann, Franziska; Bruhn, Sven
February 2013
PLoS ONE;Feb2013, Vol. 8 Issue 2, p1
Academic Journal
Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) rupture ranks among the most common injuries in sports. The incidence of ACL injuries is considerably higher in females than in males and the underlying mechanisms are still under debate. Furthermore, it has been suggested that muscle fatigue can be a risk factor for ACL injuries. We investigated gender differences in hamstring reflex responses and posterior-anterior tibial translation (TT) before and after fatiguing exercise. We assessed the isolated movement of the tibia relative to the femur in the sagittal plane as a consequence of mechanically induced TT in standing subjects. The muscle activity of the hamstrings was evaluated. Furthermore, isometric maximum voluntary torque (iMVT) and rate of torque development (RTD) of the hamstrings (H) and quadriceps (Q) were measured and the MVT H/Q as well as the RTD H/Q ratios were calculated. After fatigue, reflex onset latencies were enhanced in women. A reduction of reflex responses associated with an increased TT was observed in females. Men showed no differences in these parameters. Correlation analysis revealed no significant associations between parameters for TT and MVT H/Q as well as RTD H/Q. The results of the present study revealed that the fatigue protocol used in this study altered the latency and magnitude of reflex responses of the hamstrings as well as TT in women. These changes were not found in men. Based on our results, it is conceivable that the fatigue-induced decrease in neuromuscular function with a corresponding increase in TT probably contributes to the higher incidence of ACL injuries in women.


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