Relationships of Muscle Function and Subjective Knee Function in Patients After ACL Reconstruction

Stephan Bodkin, John Goetschius, Jay Hertel, Joe Hart
Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine 2017, 5 (7): 2325967117719041

BACKGROUND: After anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR), relationships between objective measures of muscle function and patient-reported outcomes may change over time. Examining these measures at different time frames after surgery may help develop individualized approaches to improve post-ALCR analysis.

PURPOSE: To examine the associations between subjective knee function and lower-extremity muscle function in individual patients at various time points after ACLR.

STUDY DESIGN: Descriptive laboratory study.

METHODS: Fifty-one participants who underwent primary, unilateral ACLR (15 males, 36 females; mean age, 22.9 ± 4.5 years; mean height, 172.4 ± 10.1 cm; mean weight, 68.7 ± 13.1 kg) were separated into 3 groups depending on time since surgery (early, <2 years; middle, 2-5 years; late, >5 years). Subjective knee function was quantified using the International Knee Documentation Committee (IKDC) subjective knee form and the Knee injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (KOOS). Isometric knee extension and flexion strength were collected at 90 deg/s. Single-leg hop performance was measured using the single hop, triple hop, cross-over hop, and 6-m timed hop. Coefficient correlations were calculated between subjective knee function and objective measures of muscle function for each group.

RESULTS: The early group demonstrated moderate correlations between the KOOS and unilateral measures of flexion peak torque ( r = 0.514, P = .035) and flexion power ( r = 0.54, P = .027). The middle group demonstrated the strongest correlations between the KOOS and symmetry measures of the single hop ( r = 0.69, P = .002) and extension work ( r = 0.71, P = .002) as well as unilateral measures of the triple hop ( r = 0.52, P = .034) and extension work ( r = 0.66, P = .004). The late group demonstrated strong correlations between the 6-m timed hop symmetry and the IKDC ( r = 0.716, P = .001) and KOOS ( r = 0.71, P = .001).

CONCLUSION: Patients with a post-ACLR status of less than 2 years exhibited stronger relationships with unilateral strength measures to subjective function; graft type was found to change these relationships. Patients at 2 to 5 years postsurgery demonstrated relationships with both unilateral and symmetry measures of muscle function to subjective function. Patients who were more than 5 years after ACLR exhibited strong associations between hopping symmetry and subjective function.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Future clinical guidelines for patients after ACLR may need to consider time since surgery as a potential factor.

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