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Postural Control During Single-Leg Landing in Female Athletes After Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction.

BACKGROUND: Secondary anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury is a complication of ACL reconstruction (ACLR), which may result from altered neuromuscular control affecting anticipatory postural adjustments (APAs) and compensatory postural adjustments (CPAs) required for maintaining balance during movement. However, it remains unclear how APAs and CPAs differ in single-leg landings post-ACLR compared to healthy subjects.

PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to clarify the differences in muscle activities of APAs and CPAs, lower limb kinematics, and kinetics between athletes with a history of ACLR and healthy athletes during single-leg landing.

STUDY DESIGN: Cross-sectional study.

METHODS: Eighteen female athletes were recruited and divided into ACLR (n = 9) and control groups (n = 9). The experimental task involved a single-leg landing from a 30 cm box. Joint angles and moments were determined using a 3-dimensional motion analysis system, while muscle activity was assessed using surface electromyography. Analysis intervals were divided into two phases: the APA phase (-150 ms to 50 ms) and the CPA phase (50 ms to 250 ms), with initial contact (0 ms) as the reference point. Muscle activity onset time was defined as the time when the baseline exceeded by the sum of mean values and 2 standard deviations.

RESULTS: No significant differences were observed in muscle activity or onset time between the ACLR and control groups. However, an increased hip external rotation moment was observed during the CPA phase in the ACLR group.

CONCLUSION: These findings suggest that APAs and CPAs of athletes who returned to sports more than 1 year post-ACLR may be similar. The increased hip external rotation moment in the ACLR group during the CPA phase could represent a specific compensatory strategy to decrease the hip internal rotation angle post-ACLR.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: III.

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