Association between Kinesiophobia and Gait Asymmetry after ACL Reconstruction: Implications for Prevention of Reinjury

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Mar 22;18(6):3264. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18063264.


Gait asymmetries have been documented in individuals after anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction (ACLR). The relationship between gait asymmetry and associated psychological factors, however, is not yet known. This study aimed to examine the relationship between kinesiophobia (fear of reinjury) and asymmetry of vertical ground reaction force (vGRF) and lower-extremity muscular activity in individuals after ACLR during gait. Twenty-eight males with a history of ACLR participated in the study. Force plate and surface electromyography was used to record peak vGRF and muscular activity. The Tampa Scale of Kinesiophobia (TSK-11) was used to measure kinesiophobia. Spearman's rank correlations analysis was used to examine the relationship between TSK-11 scores and both gait asymmetry variables. There was a significant positive relationship between TSK-11 and asymmetry of the second peak of vGRF (rs = 0.531, p = 0.002). In addition, there was a significant positive association between asymmetry of rectus femoris activity (rs = 0.460, p = 0.007) and biceps femoris activity (rs = 0.429, p = 0.011) in the contact phase. Results revealed a significant relationship between kinesiophobia and asymmetry in muscle activity and vGRF in different phases of the gait cycle. Interventions addressing kinesiophobia early in the rehabilitation after ACLR may support the restoration of gait symmetry, facilitate a more rapid return to sport, and reduce the risk of ACL reinjury.

Keywords: ACL reconstruction; biomechanics; gait asymmetry; kinesiophobia; prevention of sports injuries; psychological factors; reinjury.

MeSH terms

  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries* / surgery
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction*
  • Gait
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint
  • Male
  • Quadriceps Muscle
  • Reinjuries*