Abnormal rotational knee motion during running after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction

Am J Sports Med. 2004 Jun;32(4):975-83. doi: 10.1177/0363546503261709.


Background: The effectiveness of anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction for restoring normal knee kinematics is largely unknown, particularly during sports movements generating large, rapidly applied forces.

Hypothesis: Under dynamic in vivo loading, significant differences in 3-dimensional kinematics exist between anterior cruciate ligament-reconstructed knees and the contralateral, uninjured knees.

Study design: Prospective, in vivo laboratory study.

Methods: Kinematics of anterior cruciate ligament-reconstructed and contralateral (uninjured) knees were evaluated for 6 subjects during downhill running 4 to 12 months after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction, using a 250 frame/s stereoradiographic system. Anatomical reference axes were determined from computed tomography scans. Kinematic differences between the uninjured and reconstructed limbs were evaluated with a repeated-measures analysis of variance.

Results: Anterior tibial translation was similar for the reconstructed and uninjured limbs. However, reconstructed knees were more externally rotated on average by 3.8 +/- 2.3 degrees across all subjects and time points (P =.0011). Reconstructed knees were also more adducted, by an average of 2.8 +/- 1.6 degrees (P =.0091). Although differences were small, they were consistent in all subjects.

Conclusions: Anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction failed to restore normal rotational knee kinematics during dynamic loading.

Clinical relevance: Although further study is required, these abnormal motions may contribute to long-term joint degeneration associated with anterior cruciate ligament injury/reconstruction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament / surgery*
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Knee Injuries / physiopathology
  • Knee Injuries / surgery*
  • Knee Joint / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Movement
  • Postoperative Period
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reconstructive Surgical Procedures
  • Rotation
  • Running / physiology*