Abnormal tibiofemoral contact stress and aberrant kinematics may influence the progression of osteoarthritis in the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)-deficient and the ACL-reconstructed knee. However, relationships between contact stress and kinematics after ACL reconstruction are poorly understood. Therefore, we posed the following research questions: (1) How do ACL deficiency and reconstruction affect the kinematics of and contact stress in the tibiofemoral joint? (2) What kinematic differences are associated with abnormal contact stress after ACL reconstruction?Hypothesis:
Center-center ACL reconstruction will not restore knee kinematics and contact stress. Correlations will exist between abnormal contact stress and aberrant kinematics after ACL reconstruction.Study Design:
Controlled laboratory study.Methods:
Clinical tests of anterior and rotational stability were simulated on 11 cadaveric knees using an industrial robot. Tests were conducted with the ACL intact, sectioned, and after single-bundle ACL reconstruction using a quadrupled hamstring autograft with tunnels drilled through the center of the native footprints. Kinematics were recorded during the tests. Contact stress was continuously recorded from a stress transducer fixed to the tibial plateau, and mean contact stress was calculated regionally.Results:
ACL deficiency resulted in increased mean contact stress in the posterior sectors of the medial and lateral compartments under anterior and rotational loads, respectively. Reconstruction reduced stress in these locations; however, contact stress abnormalities remained. On average, kinematics were overconstrained after ACL reconstruction (≤1.8 mm and ≤2.6° in all directions). However, combinations of overconstrained and underconstrained motions in abduction/adduction and medial-lateral translation in response to combined moments, and anterior-posterior translation, medial-lateral translation, and axial rotation in response to an anterior load were associated with abnormal mean contact stress.Conclusion:
ACL reconstruction reduces high stresses generated in the posterior compartment of the ACL-deficient knee. Abnormal contact stress after ACL reconstruction is related to multiplanar variations in knee kinematics.Clinical Relevance:
Clinical measures of multiplanar kinematics may help to better characterize the quality of ACL reconstruction. Such measures may help identify patients at increased risk of long-term joint degeneration following this surgery.