Compensatory Strategies That Reduce Knee Extensor Demand During a Bilateral Squat Change From 3 to 5 Months Following Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction

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Abstract

• BACKGROUND: Decreased extensor moments in the surgical knee during bilateral squats can persist beyond 1 year following anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR). This is accomplished using interlimb and intralimb compensations.

• OBJECTIVES: This study sought to assess loading during squatting longitudinally, 3 and 5 months post ACLR, and to determine the extent to which interlimb and intralimb compensations contribute to reduced knee extensor moments.

• METHODS: In this controlled, longitudinal laboratory study, 11 individuals (4 male) underwent 3-D motion analysis of a squat at 3 and 5 months post ACLR. A repeated-measures multivariate analysis of variance (limb by time) assessed differences in peak knee and hip flexion angles, knee extensor moment, vertical ground reaction force, and hip-to-knee extensor moment ratio. Stepwise linear regression analysis was used to determine the contribution of interlimb (between-limb vertical ground reaction force ratio) and intralimb (within-surgical-limb hip-to-knee moment ratio) compensations to the between-limb knee extensor moment ratio.

• RESULTS: A significant effect of limb was observed for knee flexion angle, knee extensor moment, vertical ground reaction force, and hip-to-knee extensor moment ratio, while a significant effect of time was observed for knee extensor moment and hip-to-knee extensor moment ratio. At 3 months, the vertical ground reaction force ratio and hip-to-knee extensor moment ratio predicted the knee extensor moment ratio (R2 = 0.854, P<.001). At 5 months, the hip-to-knee extensor moment ratio predicted the knee extensor moment ratio (R2 = 0.584, P = .006).

• CONCLUSION: Individuals used interlimb and intralimb compensations to reduce the knee extensor moment of the surgical limb at 3 months post ACLR. Similar reductions in the knee extensor moment at 5 months were accomplished with only intralimb compensations.

• KEY WORDS:anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction, interlimb compensation, intralimb compensation, knee extensor moment deficit, rehabilitation

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