Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Knee News

Jumping to Conclusions after ACL Surgery

Do healthy knees work the same way as knees that have had ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) reconstruction? The answer may help doctors and physical therapists plan the best rehabilitation exercises for their patients.

This study focused on recreational athletes who had earlier ACL surgery using a graft from the hamstring muscle. Their knees seemed to be fully recovered. However, researchers found that these athletes actually use their legs differently than athletes who have never had knee surgery.

All the athletes were tested by stepping off a box that was about two feet tall. The athletes who had ACL surgery absorbed the impact of landing differently than the control group. They absorbed less impact in their hips and more in their ankles. The researchers think the differences may be due to an unconscious effort to protect the hamstring that provided the tendon for surgery. The researchers suggest that athletes needs to build strength in the whole leg after ACL surgery, not just around the knee.

Michael J. Decker, et al. Landing Adaptations After ACL Reconstruction. In Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. September 2002. Vol. 34. No. 9. Pp. 1408-1413.


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