Gait Analysis 6 and 12 Months After Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction Surgery

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Little is known about knee function after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction in the vital activities of walking and stair use. Gait analysis was done on patients 6 months (n = 8) and 12 months (n = 9) after reconstruction of the anterior cruciate ligament. Paired t tests were used to compare the injured and uninjured knees. During level walking, the patients placed external flexion torques on their injured knees throughout midstance, indicating the absence of quadriceps avoidance gait. The peak external flexion torque (resisted by the knee extensor muscles) placed on the injured knee was significantly less than that of the uninjured knee when ascending stairs (at 12 months, 68.4 and 85.3 N-m in the injured and uninjured knees, respectively) and also when descending stairs (at 12 months, 70.8 and 81.7 N-m in the injured and uninjured knees, respectively). The injured knee produced significantly less power than the uninjured knee when ascending stairs, but this difference was not significant when descending stairs. These findings indicate that asymmetric gait patterns persisted up to 1 year after surgical reconstruction and were more pronounced during stair ascent and descent than in level walking. These results indicate that clinicians should include specific interventions targeted at improving knee function during stair use to restore normal function after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction.

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