Sports Medicine

, Volume 44, Issue 11, pp 1573–1588 | Cite as

Knee Mechanics During Planned and Unplanned Sidestepping: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

  • Scott R. BrownEmail author
  • Matt Brughelli
  • Patria A. Hume
Systematic Review



Knee joint mechanics during sidestepping are associated with anterior cruciate ligament injury. Unplanned sidestepping more closely emulates game scenarios when compared with planned sidestepping by limiting decision time, increasing knee loading and challenging the integrity of soft-tissue structures in the knee. It is important to quantify the loads that may challenge the integrity of the knee during planned and unplanned sidestepping.


Our objective was to review literature on knee mechanics during planned and unplanned phases of sidestepping.

Data sources

PubMed, CINAHL, MEDLINE (EBSCO), SPORTDiscus and Web of Science were searched using the terms knee mechanics OR knee kine*, AND plan*, unplan*, anticipat*, unanticipat*, side*, cut* or chang*.

Study selection

A systematic approach was used to evaluate 4,629 records. Records were excluded when not available in English, only available in abstract of conference proceedings, not involving a change-of-direction sidestep, not comparing planned and unplanned or maintaining a running velocity greater than 2 m s−1.

Data extraction

Included studies were evaluated independently by two authors using a custom-designed methodological quality assessment derived from the Physiotherapy Evidence Database (PEDro) scale and then confirmed by a third author.

Data synthesis

Only six studies met the inclusion criteria and were retained for meta-analysis. Magnitude-based inferences were used to assess the standardised effect of the differences between planned and unplanned sidestepping. Knee angles and knee moments were extracted and reported for flexion/extension, abduction/adduction and internal/external rotation for initial contact, weight acceptance, peak push-off and final push-off phases of sidestepping.


For kinematic variables, unplanned sidestepping produced a wide range of small to large increases in knee extension angles, small and moderate increases in knee abduction angles and a small increase in internal rotation angle relative to planned sidestepping during the sidestepping manoeuvre. For kinetic variables, unplanned sidestepping produced mostly small (small to large) increases in knee flexor moments, small to moderate increases in knee abductor moments and mostly moderate (small to large) increases in internal rotator moments relative to planned sidestepping.


Approach velocity constraints during the sidestepping manoeuvre were lifted due to the low number of eligible studies. The varying approach velocities included (ranging from 3.0 to 5.5 m s−1) may impact the kinematic and kinetic variables examined in this review.


Differences in knee mechanics between planned and unplanned sidestepping exist. The most substantial effects occurred during the weight acceptance phase of sidestepping. It seems that biomechanical factors commonly associated with anterior cruciate ligament injury risk are affected the most during the loading phase compared with peak push-off; made evident in the coronal (abductor) and transverse (internal rotator) knee kinetic data presented in this review. The authors of this review propose a rationale for the incorporation of unplanned sport tasks in the development of anterior cruciate ligament injury screening and in prophylactic training programmes.


Anterior Cruciate Ligament Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury Knee Flexion Angle Vertical Ground Reaction Force Knee Abduction 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



No funding was received for this review that may have affected study design, data collection, analysis or interpretation of data, writing of this manuscript, or the decision to submit for publication. The authors have no conflicts of interest that are directly relevant to the content of this review. Scott R. Brown was funded by the AUT Vice Chancellors PhD scholarship. The authors would like to thank Will G. Hopkins for his advice regarding the analysis of this study, Joanna E. Reeves for her initial contribution to the scope to the paper and Barry D. Wilson for his advice during edits.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Scott R. Brown
    • 1
    Email author
  • Matt Brughelli
    • 1
  • Patria A. Hume
    • 1
  1. 1.Sports Performance Research Institute New Zealand (SPRINZ) at AUT MillenniumAuckland University of TechnologyAucklandNew Zealand

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