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Exercise-induced knee joint laxity in distance runners.
  1. H V Johannsen,
  2. T Lind,
  3. B W Jakobsen,
  4. K Krøner
  1. Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Aarhus County Hospital, University of Aarhus, Denmark.


    The objectives of this study were to evaluate the effect of exercise on knee joint laxity. If exercise induced laxity is physiological, incorporation of this quality into a ligament replacement material would be indicated. Twenty recreational long distance runners average age 41 (range 24 to 50 yr) were tested before and immediately after 30 minutes of running. Using a computerized goniometer type instrument (Acufex KSS), knee flexion, axial tibial rotation and anterior-posterior tibial displacement were simultaneously recorded, while the runners underwent tests of static as well as dynamic knee joint laxity. At 30 degrees of knee flexion, a maximum increase of 16 per cent in mean total anterior-posterior laxity post-exercise was found. At the examination 30 minutes post-exercise, laxity at 30 degrees of knee flexion was still increased. However, laxity at 90 degrees of knee flexion had decreased to pre-exercise levels or below. Anterior tibial displacement, recorded during eccentric quadriceps activity (0 to 90 degrees of knee flexion) with weights attached to the foot, showed a maximum of 18 per cent increase in total anterior-posterior laxity post-exercise. It is suggested that the laxity increase is caused in part by a true ligamentous laxity increase, and in part by a decreased resting tone of the fatigued muscles.

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