Proprioception in Patients With Anterior Cruciate Ligament Tears: A Meta-analysis Comparing Injured and Uninjured Limbs

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Background:Because of a reduction in the number of mechanoreceptors or alterations of their characteristics, anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears lead not only to mechanical instability but also to impaired proprioception.Purpose/Hypothesis:This study analyzed whether ACL tears cause a greater decrease in proprioception in injured than in uninjured knees. The hypothesis was that knee proprioception after ACL tears would decrease more in injured than in contralateral uninjured knees, regardless of the method used to measure knee proprioception.Study Design:Meta-analysis.Methods:We identified studies comparing proprioception in ACL-injured and contralateral intact knees using threshold for detection of passive motion (TTDPM) or joint position sense (JPS) tests. JPS was assessed by measuring the reproduction of passive positioning (RPP) or active repositioning (RAP) of the knee.Results:Sixteen studies were included in this meta-analysis. The pooled results of subgroup analyses of TTDPM for both 20° and 40° of knee flexion showed that mean angle of error was 0.23° (95% CI, 0.08°-0.37°) greater in ACL-injured than in contralateral intact knees (P = .002). Pooled data RAP and RPP subgroup analyses also showed that the mean angle of error was 0.94° higher in ACL-injured than in contralateral intact knees. The mean difference in angle of error between ACL-injured and contralateral intact knees was 0.71° greater (95% CI, 0.68°-0.74°; P < .001) by JPS than by TTDPM.Conclusion:Proprioception of ACL-injured knees was decreased compared with contralateral intact knees, as determined by both joint movement (kinesthesia) and joint position. The magnitude of loss of proprioception was greater in joint position than in joint movement.

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