Purpose: The present study aimed to clarify the relationship between deficits in knee-flexion torque and morphological changes in the semitendinosus muscle-tendon complex after harvesting the semitendinosus tendon for anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction.
Methods: Isometric knee-flexion torque at 45 and 90° of knee flexion was measured in limbs of 23 patients (22 ± 4 yr) who underwent unilateral ACL reconstruction (12-43 months postoperation) using ipsilateral semitendinosus tendon. Magnetic resonance imaging scans were used to calculate the muscle volume and the muscle length of the semitendinosus and to confirm the presence of the regenerated semitendinosus tendon.
Results: The percentage of the knee-flexion torque of the ACL-reconstructed limb compared with that of the contralateral limb was lower at 90° than at 45°. The regeneration of the semitendinosus tendon-like structure was confirmed in 21 of the 23 patients. However, muscle volume and muscle length of the semitendinosus in the ACL-reconstructed limb were significantly smaller compared with in the contralateral limb.
Conclusion: Deficits in knee-flexion torque at deep knee flexion were associated with the atrophy and shortening of the semitendinosus after harvesting the semitendinosus tendon for ACL reconstruction.