Sagittal plane kinematics predict kinetics during walking gait in individuals with anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction

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Abstract

Background:

Alterations in mechanical loading following anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction may lead to the development of knee osteoarthritis. Feedback that cues a change in knee kinematics during walking gait may influence mechanical loading, yet it remains unknown if knee kinematics predict kinetics during walking gait. Our aim was to determine if sagittal plane knee kinematics predict kinetics during walking gait in anterior cruciate ligament reconstructed individuals.

Methods:

Forty-one individuals with a history of primary, unilateral anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction completed a motion capture walking gait analysis. Hierarchical linear regression analyses were used in order to determine the amount of variance in the kinetic variables of interest (peak vertical ground reaction force, instantaneous and linear vertical ground reaction force loading rate) that was individually predicted by the kinematic variables of interest (knee flexion angle at heelstrike, peak knee flexion angle, and knee flexion excursion).

Findings:

Knee flexion excursion of the injured limb significantly predicted 11% of the variance in peak vGRF of the injured limb after accounting for gait speed and peak knee flexion angle (ΔR2 = 0.11, P = 0.004). After accounting for gait speed and knee flexion angle at heelstrike, knee flexion excursion significantly predicted 16% of the variance in the injured limb peak vertical ground reaction force (ΔR2 = 0.16, P = 0.001). No kinematic variable predicted vertical ground reaction force loading rate.

Interpretation:

Altering knee flexion excursion may be useful as a future therapeutic target for modifying peak vertical ground reaction force during walking gait following anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction.

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