The combined impact of a perceptual–cognitive task and neuromuscular fatigue on knee biomechanics during landing

  • Jeremy Mejane
    Laboratoire de recherche en imagerie et orthopedie, Ecole de technologie superieure, Montreal, Canada

    CHUM Research Center, University of Montreal, Montreal, Canada
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  • Jocelyn Faubert
    Psychophysics and Visual Perception Laboratory, School of Optometry, University of Montreal, Montreal, Canada
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  • Thomas Romeas
    Laboratoire de recherche en imagerie et orthopedie, Ecole de technologie superieure, Montreal, Canada

    CHUM Research Center, University of Montreal, Montreal, Canada
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  • David R. Labbe
    Corresponding author at: Department of Software and IT Engineering, Ecole de technologie superieure, 1100, Notre-Dame Ouest, Montreal, Quebec H3C 1K3, Canada.
    Laboratoire de recherche en imagerie et orthopedie, Ecole de technologie superieure, Montreal, Canada

    CHUM Research Center, University of Montreal, Montreal, Canada

    Psychophysics and Visual Perception Laboratory, School of Optometry, University of Montreal, Montreal, Canada
    Search for articles by this author
Published:December 22, 2018DOI:



      A large majority of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries are non-contact, most often occurring during a landing or change of direction. Recent research indicates that cognitive factors may be involved in non-contact ACL injuries. The aim of this study was to determine if a game-situation perceptual–cognitive load leads to altered landing kinematics in physically fatigued female athletes.


      Nineteen female recreational athletes were recruited to perform a series of jumping and landing trials. In a first phase, eight trials were performed in an isolated condition and eight were performed while participants performed a perceptual–cognitive task. Before a second identical phase, participants underwent a muscular fatigue protocol. Knee-joint kinematics were recorded and compared between conditions using paired t-tests.


      Muscle fatigue led to statistically significant increases in peak knee abduction and peak internal knee rotation as well as a decrease in maximum knee flexion, when comparing conditions without the perceptual–cognitive task. The perceptual–cognitive task had no statistically significant effect on any knee rotations, either pre- or post-fatigue. However, a subgroup of 12 athletes showed a significant increase in knee abduction in the presence of the perceptual–cognitive task, only in the fatigued condition.


      A perceptual–cognitive task combined with muscle fatigue alters knee kinematics of landing for a subset of recreational athletes, potentially increasing the risk of ACL rupture. Further studies are necessary to confirm this finding and to identify characteristics of at-risk individuals to target them for injury prevention protocols.


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