Young Females Exhibit Decreased Coronal Plane Postural Stability Compared to Young Males



Female athletes are at significantly higher risk of noncontact ACL injury than males, particularly in pivoting sports such as soccer and basketball. Sex-based differences in proprioception and core stability may contribute to this elevated risk.


This study evaluates a novel method of assessing dynamic stability to test the hypothesis that healthy adolescent controls have sex-based differences in postural stability.


Seventy-nine male and 72 female subjects completed three rounds of dynamic postural stability testing. During the assessment, subjects attempted to stabilize their torso and upper body in response to random movements of the platform. The total time a subject lasted on the platform and dynamic motion analysis (DMA) score, a summation of motion in five planes throughout testing, was calculated for each subject. The average score for each subject was included in the analysis.


Males lasted longer on the platform (98 ± 14 s) than females (94 ± 13 s) (p = 0.04). Coronal plane and rotation stability differed significantly between genders (323 ± 126 vs. 365 ± 128, p = 0.04) and (318 ± 82 vs. 403 ± 153, p = 0.0002), respectively. No statistically significant difference was seen in the other planes of motion.


Females have less dynamic postural stability than their male counterparts in the coronal plane based on a novel assessment tool. This finding may contribute to better understanding of sex-based differences in rates of injury such as noncontact ACL tears.

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Conflict of Interest

Robert H. Brophy, MD, Jonathon R. Staples, MD, John Motley, PT, Ryan Blalock, MD, Karen Steger-May, MA and Mark Halstead, MD have declared that they have no conflict of interest.

Human/Animal Rights

All procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2008 (5).

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all patients for being included in the study.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Robert H. Brophy MD.

Additional information

Level of Evidence: Cohort study, level 2b (prospective)

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Brophy, R.H., Staples, J.R., Motley, J. et al. Young Females Exhibit Decreased Coronal Plane Postural Stability Compared to Young Males. HSS Jrnl 12, 26–31 (2016).

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  • core stability
  • dynamic stability
  • male
  • female
  • adolescent
  • ACL