Background: More than 2 years after undergoing anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction, women still present bilateral asymmetries during multijoint movement tasks. Given the well-known ACL-injury gender bias, the goal of this study was to investigate whether males also present such asymmetries more than 2 years after undergoing ACL reconstruction.
Methods: This study involved 12 participants submitted to ACL reconstruction in the ACL group and 17 healthy participants in the control group. The mean postoperative period was 37 months. The participants executed bilateral countermovement jumps and load squat tasks. The kinematics and ground reaction forces on each lower limb and pelvis were recorded, and used to compute bilateral peak vertical ground reaction forces, peak knee and hip joint powers in the sagittal plane, and the ratio between these powers.
Results: For the jump task, the groups had the same performance in the jump height, but for the ACL group the peak knee joint power on the operated side was 13% lower than on the non-operated side (p = 0.02). For the squat task, the hip-knee joint power ratio on the operated side of the ACL group was 31% greater than on the non-operated side (p = 0.02).
Conclusions: The ACL group presented a deficit in the operated knee that had its energy generation over time (joint power) partially substituted by the hip joint power of the same side. The fact that, even after more than 2 years following the ACL reconstruction and returning to regular activity, the ACL group still had neuromuscular asymmetries suggests a need for improvement in the ACL reconstruction surgery procedures and/or rehabilitation protocols.