Some injury prevention programmes are intended to decrease the risk of ACL rupture. Although the most common athletic task leading to ACL rupture is cutting, there is currently no consensus on how injury prevention programmes affect cutting task biomechanics. This study sought to systematically review and synthesise the scientific literature regarding the influence of injury prevention programme exercises on cutting task biomechanics. Seven studies met the inclusion criteria. Across all studies, a total of 100 participants received exercises that are part of ACL injury prevention programmes and 76 participants served in control groups. Most studies evaluated variables related to the quadriceps dominance theory. The meta-analysis revealed decreased lateral hamstrings electromyography activity (p≤0.05) while single studies revealed decreased quadriceps and increased medial hamstrings activity and decreased peak knee flexion moment. Findings from single studies reported that ACL injury prevention exercises reduce neuromuscular deficits (knee valgus moment, lateral trunk leaning) associated with the ligament and trunk dominance theories, respectively. The programmes analysed seemed most effective when they emphasised individualised biomechanical technique correction and target postpubertal women.
The exercises used in injury prevention programmes have the potential to improve cutting task biomechanics by ameliorating neuromuscular deficits linked to ACL rupture, especially when they place emphasis on individualised biomechanical technique correction and target postpubertal female athletes.