OBJECTIVE

To determine how chronic anterior cruciate ligament deficient and surgically repaired subjects react to unexpected forward perturbations during gait as compared to healthy controls.

DESIGN

Gait testing of 10 chronic anterior cruciate ligament deficient subjects prior to and three months following reconstructive surgery, and 10 uninjured controls.

BACKGROUND

The ability of an anterior cruciate ligament injured individual to react and maintain equilibrium during gait perturbations is critical for the prevention of reinjury. No studies have investigated how these individuals respond to unexpected perturbations during normal gait.

METHODS

An unexpected forward perturbation was induced upon heel strike using a force plate capable of translational movement.

RESULTS

Prior to surgery, the anterior cruciate ligament subjects exhibited a greater knee extensor moment in response to the perturbation compared to healthy controls. Following surgery, the anterior cruciate ligament injured subjects exhibited a static knee position and a sustained knee extensor moment throughout stance in response to the perturbation as compared to controls.

CONCLUSIONS

These data suggest that chronic anterior cruciate ligament deficient subjects rely heavily on knee extensor musculature to prevent collapse in response to an unexpected perturbation. This same reactive response was more pronounced 3 months following surgery.

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