In Vivo Anterior Cruciate Ligament Deformation During a Single-Legged Jump Measured by Magnetic Resonance Imaging and High-Speed Biplanar Radiography.
BACKGROUND: The in vivo mechanics of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and its bundles during dynamic activities are not completely understood. An improved understanding of how the ACL stabilizes the knee is likely to aid in the identification and prevention of injurious maneuvers. PURPOSE/HYPOTHESIS: The purpose was to measure in vivo ACL strain during a single-legged jump through use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and high-speed biplanar radiography. We hypothesized that ACL strain would increase with the knee near extension, and a peak in ACL strain would occur just before landing from the jump, potentially due to quadriceps contraction in anticipation of landing. STUDY DESIGN: Descriptive laboratory study. METHODS: Models of the femur, tibia, and ACL attachment sites of 8 male participants were generated from MRI scans through use of solid modeling. High-speed biplanar radiographs were obtained from these participants as they performed a single-legged jump. The bone models were registered to the biplanar radiographs, thereby reproducing the in vivo positions of the joint throughout the jump. ACL and bundle elongations were defined as the centroid to centroid distances between attachment sites for each knee position. ACL strain was defined as ACL length normalized to its length measured in the position of the knee at the time of MRI. RESULTS: Peaks in ACL strain were observed before toe-off and 55 ± 35 milliseconds before initial ground contact. These peaks were associated with the knee positioned at low flexion angles. Mean ACL strain was inversely related to mean flexion angle (rho = -0.73, P < .001), such that ACL strain generally increased with knee extension throughout the jumping motion. ACL bundle lengths were significantly (rho > 0.85, P < .001) correlated with overall ACL length. CONCLUSION: These findings provide insight into how landing in extension can increase the risk of ACL injury. Specifically, this study shows that peak ACL strain can occur just before landing from a single-legged jump. Thus, when an individual lands on an extended knee, the ACL is relatively taut, which may make it particularly vulnerable to injury, especially in the presence of a movement perturbation or unanticipated change in landing strategy. CLINICAL RELEVANCE: This study provides a novel measurement of dynamic ACL strain during an athletic maneuver and lends insight into how landing in extension can increase the likelihood of ACL failure.
Englander, ZA; Baldwin, EL; Smith, WAR; Garrett, WE; Spritzer, CE; DeFrate, LE
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