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British Orthopaedic Research Society (BORS)


Evidence suggests that anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injured individuals do not use the same movement strategies as healthy individuals. It is unknown how this may affect them in more challenging activities of daily living and sport. The aim of this study is to evaluate how ACL injured patients perform a single leg squat (SLS) compared to healthy controls. SLS was evaluated as it is more challenging than gait and therefore more relevant to clinical decision making about progressing to sporting maneuvers.

To date, 6 ACL deficient (ACLD) (5 males, 1 female; mass=88±22 kg; height=1.78±0.11 m; age=35±11 years), 5 ACL reconstructed (ACLR) (5 males; mass= 83±12 kg; height=1.74±0.07 m; age=29±10 years) and 5 controls (3 males, 2 females; mass= 72±13 kg; height=1.70±0.09 m; age=30±3 years) performed a SLS on the injured leg for the ACL injured participants and the dominant leg for the control group. Motion analysis was performed using a Vicon Nexus system and a Kistler force platform. Knee extension moments and angles were calculated using Vicon Nexus software.

The ACLD group had reduced peak flexion angles compared to ACLR and control groups (65±5, 77±7 and 82±9 degrees respectively). Peak extension moments were similar across all groups (ACLD= 0.94±0.26 Nm/kg, ACLR=1.06±0.37 Nm/kg, control=1.04±0.36 Nm/kg). Peak knee moments occurred just after peak flexion and therefore at a smaller flexion angle for the ACLD group compared to the ACLR and control group (59±13, 75±7 and 80±6 degrees). Extension moments were similar when evaluated at a consistent angle of 50 degrees (ACLD=0.70±0.30Nm/kg, ACLR=0.63±0.34Nm/kg control=0.61±0.32Nm/kg).

In this sample, the controls squatted deepest followed by the ACLR group, with the ACLD group squatting least deep. This did not translate to an identical pattern for the knee extensor moments. Performance of ACL injured individuals needs to be evaluated on more challenging tasks to fully assess recovery. Further research, with more subjects, will clarify if ACLD individuals are using a strategy to protect their knee or if others factors are preventing them from squatting deeper. This would suggest that these individuals may not have fully recovered and will not be able to perform more challenging activities