Abstract: The contribution of core neuromuscular control to the dynamic stability of badminton players with and without knee pain during backhand lunges has not been investigated. Accordingly, this study compared the kinematics of the lower extremity, the trunk movement, the muscle activation and the balance performance of knee-injured and knee-uninjured badminton players when performing backhand stroke diagonal lunges. Seventeen participants with chronic knee pain (injured group) and 17 healthy participants (control group) randomly performed two diagonal backhand lunges in the forward and backward directions, respectively. This study showed that the injured group had lower frontal and horizontal motions of the knee joint, a smaller hip–shoulder separation angle and a reduced trunk tilt angle. In addition, the injured group exhibited a greater left paraspinal muscle activity, while the control group demonstrated a greater activation of the vastus lateralis, vastus medialis and medial gastrocnemius muscle groups. Finally, the injured group showed a smaller distance between centre of mass (COM) and centre of pressure, and a lower peak COM velocity when performing the backhand backward lunge tasks. In conclusion, the injured group used reduced knee and trunk motions to complete the backhand lunge tasks. Furthermore, the paraspinal muscles contributed to the lunge performance of the individuals with knee pain, whereas the knee extensors and ankle plantar flexor played a greater role for those without knee pain.
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