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Eccentric knee flexor torque following anterior cruciate ligament surgery

OSTERNIG, LOUIS R.; JAMES, CHARLES R.; BERCADES, DAVID T.

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: October 1996 - Volume 28 - Issue 10 - pp 1229-1234
Clinical Sciences: Clinical Investigations

The purposes of this study were to compare eccentric knee flexor torque and muscle activation in the limbs of normal (NOR) subjects and in subjects who had undergone unilateral ACL autograft surgical reconstruction (INJ) and to assess the effect of movement speed on EMG/torque ratios and eccentric-concentric actions. Fourteen subjects (7 NOR and 7 INJ) were tested for knee eccentric flexor torque and EMG activity at four isokinetic speeds(15°, 30°, 45°, and 60°·s-1). Results revealed that post-surgical limbs (ACL) produced significantly less (P < 0.05) eccentric torque and flexor EMG activity at 60°·s-1 than uninjured (UNI) contralateral limbs. Eccentric torque rose significantly as speed increased from 45° to 60°·s-1 for surgical group uninjured limbs and NOR group left and right limbs. Eccentric flexor torque increased with speed for both groups and approximated equality with concentric extensor torque at 60°·s-1 for INJ group ACL and UNI limbs. Concentric flexor muscle EMG/torque ratios were 30-191% greater than eccentric muscle actions across groups and speeds. The results suggest that ACL dysfunction may result in reduced eccentric flexor torque at rapid movement speeds, that eccentric flexor torque increases with movement speed and may have the capacity to counter forceful extensor concentric torque, and that eccentric muscle actions produce less muscle activation per unit force than concentric actions which may reflect reduced energy cost.

Department of Exercise and Movement Science, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403

Submitted for publication September 1995.

Accepted for publication May 1996.

Address for correspondence: Louis R. Osternig, Department of Exercise and Movement Science, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon 97403.

©1996The American College of Sports Medicine