Some patients with anterior cruciate ligament deficiency can function well and participate in high-level sports, whereas others have functional limitations even during activities of daily living.Hypothesis
Patients who function well after an anterior cruciate ligament injury can stabilize the knee joint during gait by an anterior positioning of the tibia.Study Design
Controlled laboratory study.Methods
Sagittal tibial translation was registered with the CA-4000 electrogoniometer, during the Lachman test and walking, in 20 patients with a unilateral anterior cruciate ligament injury. Eleven patients functioned well (Lysholm score >84), and 9 patients had poor knee function (Lysholm score <84).Results
During gait, the well-functioning group had 24% greater anterior translation in the injured leg compared to the noninjured leg. In the poor-functioning group, the anterior translation in the injured leg was 16% smaller compared to the noninjured leg (P = .0003). Tibial translation during the Lachman test was similar in the injured leg in the 2 groups.Conclusion
Patients who function well position their tibiae near the anterior border of the joint play. This position may encourage functional stability.Clinical Relevance
Rehabilitation that emphasizes training to stabilize the tibia in an anterior position may improve functional stability of the anterior cruciate ligament-deficient knee.