The absorption of impacts resulting from contact with a landing surface during gait, running and drop landings has received considerable attention in the literature. This research has important clinical relevance as failure to appropriately plan and control impact absorption may lead to injuries to the musculo-skeletal system. This review attempts to summarize evidence gathered by studies on the motor control aspects of impact absorption during landing movements. Although this review focuses primarily on the control of landings from self-initiated falls or 'drop landings', an understanding of the motor control mechanisms underlying impact absorption is essential to understand common anticipatory and reflex mechanisms involved in a broader variety of movements such as running and jumping. The review is structured in three parts: the first two parts examine the preparatory muscle activity occurring during the fall (Part I) and after touch down (Part II). Part III explores the proposed sensorimotor mechanisms underlying the control of landing. The review concludes with as yet unresolved questions and directions for future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-94
Number of pages10
JournalGait and Posture
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2005


  • EMG
  • Landing
  • Reflexes
  • Vision

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Rehabilitation


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