The effect of exercise on anterior-posterior knee laxity

Am J Sports Med. Jan-Feb 1986;14(1):24-9. doi: 10.1177/036354658601400105.


A commercial knee laxity testing device was used to quantitate anterior and posterior laxity before and after exercise. Measurements were made at 20 degrees of knee flexion and with a displacement force of 133 N (30 pounds). In sedentary controls no significant change in laxity was noted over 2 hours. Squat power lifters sustained no significant change in laxity after a series of squats (0.4 to 0.7 cm) using 1.6 times body weight. However, 18% to 20% increases in mean anterior and posterior laxity were noted in college basketball players after 90 minutes of practice and in recreational runners after a 10 km race. The role of muscle relaxation in such tests was also evaluated by measuring laxity in normal knees before and during general anesthesia. Negligible laxity change was noted. Thus, functionally "complete" muscle relaxation can be obtained during testing in the cooperative individual. In conclusion, basketball players and distance runners experienced a transient increase in anterior and posterior laxity during exercise. Power lifters doing squats did not demonstrate a significant change in laxity. It appears that repetitive physiologic stresses at a high strain rate produce significant ligamentous laxity, while a relatively few large stresses at a low strain rate do not.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anesthesia, General
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Joint Instability / physiopathology
  • Knee Joint / physiology*
  • Male
  • Physical Exertion*
  • Running
  • Sports
  • Weight Lifting