Context: The development pattern of motor coordination, strength, and functional ability during recovery from anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction.
Objective: To investigate the relationship between motor coordination, functional ability, and strength after ACL reconstruction.
Design: Prospective clinical follow-up study.
Setting: Sports-injury research laboratory.
Participants: 20 subjects who underwent ACL reconstruction.
Interventions: Real-time eccentric and concentric motor coordination were tested by a multijoint lower limb tracking-trajectory test, quadriceps and hamstring isokinetic strength were assessed by isokinetic dynamometer, and functional performance was tested with a single-leg-hop test 6 and 12 mo after ACL reconstruction.
Main outcome measures: Percentage deficits of the involved lower extremity for target-tracking ability, peak torque, total work parameters of isokinetic strength, and single-leg-hop distance.
Results: Deficits in hamstring-quadriceps isokinetic muscle strength and single-leg-hop distance significantly decreased from the 6th to the 12th mo after surgery (P < .05). There were no significant differences in muscle concentric and eccentric motor-coordination deficits of the involved side (P > .05).
Conclusions: Although muscle strength and functional performance clearly increased from the 6th to the 12th mo after surgery, coordination characteristics of involved side remained low. This pattern demonstrated that motor-coordination progression was not affected by strength development. Patients continued to have significant motor-coordination deficits even 12 mo postsurgery. Therefore, the authors recommend that neuromuscular-coordination exercises be included in long-term rehabilitation programs to improve motor coordination.