Background Information as to how anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury and reconstructive surgery (ACLR) alter lower extremity biomechanics may improve rehabilitation and return to play guidelines, reducing the risk for repeat ACL injury.
Aim To compare lower extremity biomechanics before ACL injury and after subsequent ACLR for the injured and uninjured leg.
Methods Baseline unilateral lower extremity biomechanics were collected on the dominant leg of participants without ACL injury when they entered the Joint Undertaking to Monitor and Prevent ACL (JUMP-ACL) study. Thirty-one participants with subsequent ACL injury, reconstructive surgery and full return to physical activity completed repeat, follow-up biomechanical testing, as did 39 uninjured, matched controls. Not all injured participants suffered injury to the dominant leg, requiring separation of those with ACL injury into two groups: ACLR-injured leg group (n=12) and ACLR-uninjured leg group (n=19). We compared the landing biomechanics of these three groups (ACLR-injured leg, ACLR-uninjured leg, control) before ACL injury (baseline) with biomechanics after ACL injury, surgery and return to physical activity (follow-up).
Results ACL injury and ACLR altered lower extremity biomechanics, as both ACLR groups demonstrated increases in frontal plane movement (increased hip adduction and knee valgus). The ACLR-injured leg group also exhibited decreased sagittal plane loading (decreased anterior tibial shear force, knee extension moment and hip flexion moment). No high-risk biomechanical changes were observed in control group participants.
Conclusions ACL injury and ACLR caused movement pattern alterations of the injured and uninjured leg that have previously shown to increase the risk for future non-contact ACL injury.
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