The synergistic action of the anterior cruciate ligament and thigh muscles in maintaining joint stability

Am J Sports Med. 1987 May-Jun;15(3):207-13. doi: 10.1177/036354658701500302.


The synergistic action of the ACL and the thigh muscles in maintaining joint stability was studied experimentally. The EMG from the quadriceps and hamstring muscle groups was recorded and analyzed in three separate experimental procedures in which the knee was stressed. The test revealed that direct stress of the ACL has a moderate inhibitory effect on the quadriceps, but simultaneously it directly excites the hamstrings. Similar responses were also obtained in patients with ACL damage during loaded knee extension with tibia subluxation, indicating that an alternative reflex arc unrelated to ACL receptors was available to maintain joint integrity. The antagonist muscles (hamstrings) were clearly demonstrated to assume the role of joint stabilizers in the patient who has a deficient ACL. The importance of an appropriate muscle-conditioning rehabilitation program in such a patient is substantiated.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Cats
  • Electromyography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Joint Diseases / physiopathology
  • Knee Injuries / physiopathology
  • Knee Joint / physiology*
  • Ligaments, Articular / physiology*
  • Male
  • Muscles / physiology*
  • Reflex / physiology
  • Thigh