Tibiofemoral Contact Forces in the Anterior Cruciate Ligament–Reconstructed Knee

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Saxby, David John
Bryant, Adam L
Modenese, Luca
Gerus, Pauline
Killen, Bryce A
Konrath, Jason
Fortin, Karine
Wrigley, Tim V
Bennell, Kim L
Cicuttini, Flavia M
Vertullo, Christopher
Feller, Julian A
Whitehead, Tim
Gallie, Price
Lloyd, David G
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Purpose: To investigate differences in anterior cruciate ligament–reconstructed (ACLR) and healthy individuals in terms of the magnitude of the tibiofemoral contact forces, as well as the relative muscle and external load contributions to those contact forces, during walking, running, and sidestepping gait tasks.

Methods: A computational EMG-driven neuromusculoskeletal model was used to estimate the muscle and tibiofemoral contact forces in those with single-bundle combined semitendinosus and gracilis tendon autograft ACLR (n = 104, 29.7 ± 6.5 yr, 78.1 ± 14.4 kg) and healthy controls (n = 60, 27.5 ± 5.4 yr, 67.8 ± 14.0 kg) during walking (1.4 ± 0.2 m·s−1), running (4.5 ± 0.5 m·s−1) and sidestepping (3.7 ± 0.6 m·s−1). Within the computational model, the semitendinosus of ACLR participants was adjusted to account for literature reported strength deficits and morphological changes subsequent to autograft harvesting.

Results: ACLR had smaller maximum total and medial tibiofemoral contact forces (~80% of control values, scaled to bodyweight) during the different gait tasks. Compared with controls, ACLR were found to have a smaller maximum knee flexion moment, which explained the smaller tibiofemoral contact forces. Similarly, compared with controls, ACLR had both a smaller maximum knee flexion angle and knee flexion excursion during running and sidestepping, which may have concentrated the articular contact forces to smaller areas within the tibiofemoral joint. Mean relative muscle and external load contributions to the tibiofemoral contact forces were not significantly different between ACLR and controls.

Conclusions: ACLR had lower bodyweight-scaled tibiofemoral contact forces during walking, running, and sidestepping, likely due to lower knee flexion moments and straighter knee during the different gait tasks. The relative contributions of muscles and external loads to the contact forces were equivalent between groups.

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Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise

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© 2016 LWW. This is a non-final version of an article published in final form in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise Volume 48, Issue 11, p 2195–2206, 2016. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal link for access to the definitive, published version.

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Sports science and exercise

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