Surgery to repair a damaged anterior cruciate ligament in the knee (ACL surgery) is most common in young, active individuals. However, even after return to play, patients have an increased risk for early onset knee osteoarthritis as young adults. ACL surgery may disrupt movement patterns during everyday activities, causing abnormal joint loading and increasing wear and tear on the knee. Understanding how these movement patterns develop after ACL surgery may point the way to more effective treatments.
Investigators in this study used three-dimension motion analysis to measure knee and hip joint loading during walking and jogging in three groups of young adults (18-20 per group) that completed the motion analysis at three different time-frames after ACL surgery. The group measured at nine-24 months post-surgery showed abnormal joint loading similar to that seen early after surgery. In contrast, the group measured at two-five years post-surgery showed no abnormal joint loading; this finding suggested normal movement patterns had recovered.
Interestingly, the group measured at five or more years post-surgery exhibited some concerning abnormal joint loading patterns ̶ patterns that could expose the knee to excessive wear and tear over time. Findings showed that abnormal movement patterns may occur in young adults during the later years after ACL surgery. Adding follow-up clinical care beyond standard post-surgical rehabilitation may be beneficial for ACL surgery patients. This would allow identification and management of the risky movement patterns, leading to better long-term knee health.
For more information, view the abstract.