Effect of muscular activity on valgus/varus laxity and stiffness of the knee

J Biomech. 1986;19(8):565-77. doi: 10.1016/0021-9290(86)90162-4.


Quantitative changes in valgus/varus knee stability with different levels of muscular activity were determined for five subjects. A specially designed machine was used to measure resistance to angulation in the frontal plane. This device held the thigh stationary, the knee straight, an cycled the leg from side to side at a constant rate between present moment limits. Resistance to this forced valgus/varus motion was measured simultaneously with torque about the knee in the sagittal plane. Muscle activity was monitored by electromyography (EMG). Direct comparison of moment-rotation characteristics allowed changes in stability to be quantified as a function of extension and flexion torque. Extension torques less than 20% of the maximum increased varus stability more than valgus stability. Flexion torques of the same relative magnitude increased valgus stability more than varus stability. Comparison with the literature suggested that prevention of opening of the lateral side of the joint under varus loading was responsible for increased varus stability with increasing torque, both with extension and flexion torques.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Electromyography
  • Humans
  • Joint Instability / physiopathology*
  • Knee / physiology*
  • Movement
  • Muscles / physiology*
  • Rotation