Anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction improves subjective ability but not neuromuscular biomechanics during dynamic tasks

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PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to identify high-functioning anterior cruciate ligament-deficient patients and assess the effects of reconstruction on their self-reported functionality, muscle activations and biomechanical properties.

METHODS: Twenty young and active patients participated pre- (11.5 ± 14.3 months post-injury) and again 10.5 ± 1.7 months post-reconstruction and were individually matched to 20 healthy controls. Participants completed hop and side cut movements while patient-related outcome measures, lower limb electromyography, kinetic, and whole body kinematic data were collected. One-dimensional statistical parametric mapping was used to test for group differences (healthy vs deficient; deficient vs reconstructed; reconstructed vs healthy).

RESULTS: When comparing healthy to anterior cruciate ligament-deficient participants, all questionnaires indicated significant lower subjective function while the only substantial biomechanical difference between these participants was a decreased knee extensor moment in both the hop (peak difference: 0.63 Nm/kg, p < 0.001) and side cut (peak difference: 0.76 Nm/kg, p < 0.001). When comparing patients' pre- and post-reconstruction, no biomechanical differences were observed whereas only half of the questionnaires (Tegner, Lysholm, KNEES-ADL, KNEES-Slackness, KNEES-Looseness, KNEES-Sport Behaviour, IKDC, and KOOS-QoL) indicated higher function in the reconstructed state. When comparing the reconstructed patients to the healthy participants, all questionnaires were still significantly higher in the healthy controls. The reconstructed group also had a smaller flexion angle (peak difference: 14.5°, p = 0.007) and knee extensor moment (peak difference: 0.62 Nm/kg, p < 0.001) during the hop and a smaller knee extensor moment (peak difference: 0.90 Nm/kg, p < 0.001) during the side-cut task.

CONCLUSION: At 10-months post-reconstruction, the current results indicate that in high-functioning anterior cruciate ligament-deficient patients, reconstruction had little impact on objective measures of functional ability during dynamic tasks although self-reported function was improved.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Therapeutic prospective cohort study, Level II.

Original languageEnglish
JournalKnee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)636-645
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2019

    Research areas

  • Electromyography, Kinematics, Kinetics, Knee, Patient-reported outcome measures

ID: 203811392