The influence of deceleration forces on ACL strain during single-leg landing: a simulation study

J Biomech. 2007;40(5):1145-52. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2006.05.004. Epub 2006 Jun 23.


Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury commonly occurs during single limb landing or stopping from a run, yet the conditions that influence ACL strain are not well understood. The purpose of this study was to develop, test and apply a 3D specimen-specific dynamic simulation model of the knee designed to evaluate the influence of deceleration forces during running to a stop (single-leg landing) on ACL strain. This work tested the conceptual development of the model by simulating a physical experiment that provided direct measurements of ACL strain during vertical impact loading (peak value 1294N) with the leg near full extension. The properties of the soft tissue structures were estimated by simulating previous experiments described in the literature. A key element of the model was obtaining precise anatomy from segmented MR images of the soft tissue structures and articular geometry for the tibiofemoral and patellofemoral joints of the knee used in the cadaver experiment. The model predictions were correlated (Pearson correlation coefficient 0.889) to the temporal and amplitude characteristic of the experimental strains. The simulation model was then used to test the balance between ACL strain produced by quadriceps contraction and the reductions in ACL strain associated with the posterior braking force. When posterior forces that replicated in vivo conditions were applied, the peak ACL strain was reduced. These results suggest that the typical deceleration force that occurs during running to a single limb landing can substantially reduce the strain in the ACL relative to conditions associated with an isolated single limb landing from a vertical jump.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament / anatomy & histology
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament / physiology*
  • Computer Simulation*
  • Deceleration*
  • Humans
  • Knee / physiology*
  • Models, Anatomic*
  • Models, Biological