Dynamic knee stability: current theory and implications for clinicians and scientists

J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2001 Oct;31(10):546-66. doi: 10.2519/jospt.2001.31.10.546.


We will discuss the mechanisms by which dynamic knee stability may be achieved and relate this to issues that interest clinicians and scientists concerned with dynamic knee stability. Emphasis is placed on the neurophysiologic evidence and theory related to neuromuscular control. Specific topics discussed include the ensemble firing of peripheral mechanoreceptors, the potential for muscle stiffness modulation via force and length feedback, postural control synergies, motor programs, and the neural control of gait. Factors related to answering the difficult question of whether or not knee ligament injuries can be prevented during athletic activities are discussed. Prevention programs that train athletes to perform their sport skills in a safe fashion are put forth as the most promising prospect for injury prevention. Methods of assessing neuromuscular function are reviewed critically and the need for future research in this area is emphasized. We conclude with a brief review of the literature regarding neuromuscular training programs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries
  • Biofeedback, Psychology
  • Gait / physiology
  • Humans
  • Knee / physiology*
  • Knee Injuries / physiopathology
  • Knee Injuries / prevention & control
  • Knee Injuries / rehabilitation
  • Knee Joint / physiology*
  • Ligaments, Articular / injuries
  • Ligaments, Articular / physiology
  • Mechanoreceptors / physiology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Physical Therapy Modalities
  • Posture / physiology