Strength, Functional Outcome, and Postural Stability After Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction

J Athl Train. 2002 Sep;37(3):262-268.


OBJECTIVE: To compare postural stability, single-leg hop, and isokinetic strength measurements in subjects after anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction with an age- and activity-matched control group. DESIGN AND SETTING: Subjects reported to a sports medicine/athletic training research laboratory for testing. Subjects reported for one testing session for a total test time of 1 hour. SUBJECTS: Twenty subjects with ACL reconstructions (ACLRs) and 20 age- and activity-matched controls were selected to participate in this study. An arthroscopically assisted central one-third bone-patellar tendon procedure was used to repair the ACLs. MEASUREMENTS: We measured concentric and eccentric peak torque (Nm) measurements of the knee extensors and flexors at 120 degrees and 240 degrees /second on an isokinetic dynamometer. Unilateral and bilateral dynamic postural stability was measured as a stability index in the anterior-posterior and medial-lateral planes with the Biodex Stability System. We tested single-leg hop for distance to measure objective function. RESULTS: We found no significant difference between the ACLR and control subjects for stability index or knee-flexion peak torque scores. On the single-leg hop for distance, the ACLR subjects hopped significantly shorter distances with the involved limb than the uninvolved limb. Furthermore, the ACLR subjects' single-leg hop distance was significantly less when the involved limb was compared with the control-group matched involved limb, and the ACLR subjects performed significantly better when the uninvolved limb was compared with the control-group matched uninvolved limb. The ACLR subjects produced significantly greater torque in the uninvolved leg than in the involved leg. In addition, the peak torque was significantly less for the involved limb in the ACLR group when compared with the matched involved limb of the control group. CONCLUSIONS: After ACLR (mean = 18 +/- 10 months), single-leg hop-for-distance scores and quadriceps strength were not within normal limits when compared with the contralateral limb. Our results suggest that bilateral and single-limb postural stability in the ACLR group was not significantly different than the control group at an average follow-up of 18 months after surgery.