JOURNAL ARTICLE

Three-dimensional joint kinematics of ACL-deficient and ACL-reconstructed knees during stair ascent and descent

Bo Gao, Mitchell L Cordova, Naiquan Nigel Zheng
Human Movement Science 2012, 31 (1): 222-35
21798608
Mechanical environmental changes in the knee are induced by altered joint kinematics under cyclic loading during activities of daily living after anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury. This is considered a risk factor in progressive cartilage degeneration and the early onset of osteoarthritis following ACL injury and even after reconstructive surgery. The purpose of this study was to examine 3D joint kinematics of ACL-deficient and ACL-reconstructed knees to health controls during stair ascent and descent. A 3D optical video motion capture system was used to record coordinate data from reflective markers positioned on subjects as they ascended and descended a custom-built staircase. Spatiotemporal gait and knee joint kinematic variables were calculated and further analyzed. The ACL-deficient knees exhibited a significant extension deficit compared to the ACL-intact controls. A more varus and internally rotated tibial position was also identified in the ACL-deficient knees during both stair ascent and descent. The ACL-reconstructed knees exhibited less abnormality in both spatiotemporal gait parameters and joint kinematics, but these variables were not fully restored to a normal level. The kinematic profiles of the ACL-reconstructed knees were more similar to those of the ACL-deficient knees when compared to the ACL-intact knees. This suggests that the ACL-reconstructed knees had been "under-corrected" rather than "over-corrected" by the reconstructive surgery procedure. Findings from this study may provide more insight with respect to improving ACL reconstruction surgical techniques, which may aid the early progression of cartilage degeneration in ACL-reconstructed knees.

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