The Contralateral Knee Joint in Cruciate Ligament Deficiency

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Patients with unilateral ligament deficiency are believed to have altered kinematics of the contralateral knee, increasing the risk of contralateral joint injury. Therefore, the contralateral knees might not be a reliable normal kinematic control.


To compare the in vivo kinematics of the uninjured contralateral knees of patients with anterior or posterior cruciate ligament deficiency with knee kinematics of age-matched patients without joint injury.

Study Design:

Controlled laboratory study.


Ten subjects with bilateral healthy knees, 10 patients with acute unilateral anterior cruciate ligament injury, and 10 with acute unilateral posterior cruciate ligament injury participated in this study. Kinematics were measured from 0° to 90° of flexion using imaging and 3-dimensional modeling.


No significant differences were found across the groups in all rotations and translations during weightbearing flexion (P > .9).


Patients with unilateral cruciate ligament deficiency did not alter kinematics of the contralateral uninjured knee during weightbearing flexion. In addition, these findings suggest that the included patients with anterior cruciate ligament or posterior cruciate ligament deficiency did not have preexisting abnormal kinematics of the knee.

Clinical Relevance:

As the contralateral joint kinematics of the injured patients were not affected by the ipsilateral ligament injury in the short term, physicians and researchers might use the contralateral knee as a reliable normal kinematic control.

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