Pivoting neuromuscular control and proprioception in females and males

Song Joo Lee, Yupeng Ren, Sang Hoon Kang, François Geiger, Li Qun Zhang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Purpose: Noncontact ACL injuries occur most commonly in pivoting sports and are much more frequent in females than in males. However, information on sex differences in proprioceptive acuity under weight-bearing and leg neuromuscular control in pivoting is scarce. The objective of this study was to investigate sex differences in pivoting neuromuscular control during strenuous stepping tasks and proprioceptive acuity under weight-bearing. Methods: 21 male and 22 female subjects were recruited to evaluate pivoting proprioceptive acuity under weight-bearing, and pivoting neuromuscular control (in terms of leg pivoting instability, stiffness, maximum internal and external pivoting angles, and entropy of time-to-peak EMG in lower limb muscles) during strenuous stepping tasks performed on a novel offaxis elliptical trainer. Results: Compared to males, females had significantly lower proprioceptive acuity under weight-bearing in both internal and external pivoting directions, higher pivoting instability, larger maximum internal pivoting angle, lower leg pivoting stiffness, and higher entropy of time-to-peak EMG in the gastrocnemius muscles during strenuous stepping tasks with internal and external pivoting perturbations. Conclusions: Results of this study may help us better understand factors contributing to ACL injuries in females and males, develop training strategies to improve pivoting neuromuscular control and proprioceptive acuity, and potentially reduce ACL and lower-limb musculoskeletal injuries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)775-784
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2015


  • ACL injuries
  • Leg stiffness
  • Pivoting neuromuscular control
  • Proprioceptive acuity
  • Sex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Physiology (medical)

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