Basic Biomechanics of the Lower Extremity

      Biomechanics as a field of study has a rich history dating to the beginnings of Western medicine. Aristotle introduced the term mechanics and studied movement patterns of living creatures. In the sixteenth century, Ambrose Pare developed prostheses and worked with amputees. In the seventeenth century, Alphonso Borelli described the function of muscles and performed gait analysis. Isaac Newton defined the principles of classical mechanics, and his laws formed a basis for physics. More modern scientists such as Benno Nigg, Roger Mann, P.V. Komi, and others have further refined the relationship of standard biomechanics to sports activity [
      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic and Personal
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'

      Subscribers receive full online access to your subscription and archive of back issues up to and including 2002.

      Content published before 2002 is available via pay-per-view purchase only.


      Subscribe to Primary Care: Clinics in Office Practice
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


      1. Mack R.P. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Symposium on the foot and leg in running sports. Year Book Medical Publishers, Chicago1982: 1-29
      2. Dirix A. Knuttgen H.G. Tittel K. The Olympic book of sports medicine. Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford (UK)1988: 15-39
      3. Harries M. Williams C. Stanish W.D. Oxford textbook of sports medicine. Oxford Medical Publications, New York1994: 94-112
        • Hoppenfeld S.
        Physical examination of the spine and extremities.
        Appleton & Lange, Norwalk (CT)1976 (p. 133–41)
        • Fields K.B.
        Biomechanics of gait.
        in: Sallis R.E. Massimino F. ACSM's essentials of sports medicine. Mosby, St. Louis (MO)1997: 479-486
        • Cowan D.N.
        • Jones B.H.
        • Robinson J.R.
        Foot morphologic characteristics and risk of exercise-related injury.
        Arch Fam Med. 1993; 2: 773-777
      4. Burnett A. The biomechanics of jumping. Coaches' Infoservice. Available at: Accessed March 19, 2004.

        • Arendt E.
        • Dick R.
        Knee injury patterns among men and women in collegiate basketball and soccer. NCAA data and review of literature.
        Am J Sports Med. 1995; 23: 694-701
        • Boden B.P.
        • Dean G.S.
        • Feagin Jr., J.A.
        • et al.
        Mechanisms of anterior cruciate ligament injury.
        Orthopedics. 2000; 23: 573-578
        • Chappell J.D.
        • Yu B.
        • Kirkendall D.T.
        • et al.
        A comparison of knee kinetics between male and female recreational athletes in stop-jump tasks.
        Am J Sports Med. 2002; 30: 261-267
        • Fagenbaum R.
        • Darling W.G.
        Jump landing strategies in male and female college athletes and the implications of such strategies for anterior cruciate ligament injury.
        Am J Sports Med. 2003; 31: 233-240
        • Hewett T.E.
        • Lindenfeld T.N.
        • Riccobene J.V.
        • et al.
        The effect of neuromuscular training on the incidence of knee injury in female athletes. A prospective study.
        Am J Sports Med. 1999; 27: 699-706
        • Li G.
        • Rudy T.W.
        • Sakane M.
        • et al.
        The importance of quadriceps and hamstring muscle loading on knee kinematics and in-situ forces in the ACL.
        J Biomech. 1999; 32: 395-400
        • Nunome H.
        • Asai T.
        • Ikegami Y.
        • et al.
        Three-dimensional kinetic analysis of side-foot and instep soccer kicks.
        Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2002; 34: 2028-2036
        • De Proft E.
        • Clarys J.P.
        • Bollens E.
        • et al.
        Muscle activity in the soccer kick.
        in: Reilly T. Lees A. Davids K. Science and football. E & FN Spon, London1988: 434-440 (see
        • Bollens E.C.
        • De Proft E.
        • Clarys J.P.
        The accuracy and muscle monitoring in soccer kicking.
        in: Jonsson B. Biomechanics X-A, pp. Human Kinetics Publishers, Champaign (IL)1987: 283-288
      5. Luhtanen P. Biomechanical aspects of soccer performances. Coaches' Infoservice. Available at: Accessed March 19, 2004.