Gait adaptations by patients who have a deficient anterior cruciate ligament.

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Sixteen patients who had unilateral deficiency of the anterior cruciate ligament and ten healthy control subjects were analyzed during level walking, jogging, and ascending and descending stairs. Kinematic and kinetic findings for the right and left hips, knees, and ankles of all of the patients and control subjects were recorded during each activity. Substantial differences from normal function were observed for both limbs of the patients during level walking and during jogging. The magnitude of the maximum moment that tended to flex the knee was reduced the most (140 per cent) during level walking. It was reduced less (30 per cent) during jogging, it was not changed while the patient descended stairs, and it was slightly increased while he or she ascended stairs. The reduction in the magnitude of the flexion moment about the knee was interpreted as the patient's effort to reduce or avoid contraction of the quadriceps. Reduction of the flexion moment reduces any contraction of the quadriceps because there must be a mechanical balance between the external moment (due to body weight and the weight and inertia of the segment of the limb) that tends to flex the knee and an internal moment (generated by contraction of the quadriceps) that tends to extend the knee. This so-called quadriceps-avoidance gait was related to the angle of flexion of the knee when the maximum flexion moment occurred during each activity. This angle of flexion was 20 degrees during walking, 40 degrees during jogging, and approximately 60 degrees during stair-climbing.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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