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Examination of proprioception via postural sway measurements in the anterior cruciate ligament injured patient

1 May 1993


Injury of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) can be very disruptive during athletic activities as well as in activities of daily living as it creates anterolateral instability of the knee joint. Current surgical procedures are able to improve knee function but often the patient will continue to complain of functional knee instability after surgery and rehabilitation. These subjective complaints sometimes occur in the presence of good quadricep and hamstring strength and normal length of the reconstructed ACL. It has been postulated by a number of researchers that perhaps continued functional knee instability is a result of impaired proprioception. The purpose of this study was to examine proprioceptive sense among three groups of subjects: a surgically repaired ACL injured group (N = eleven), a non-surgically repaired ACL injured group (N = twelve), and a control group (N = twenty-three). The control group was matched to the two injured groups by age, gender, and activity frequency. An attempt was made to match subjects according to intensity of activity but this was not accomplished. All subjects underwent knee ligament laxity testing, isokinetic strength testing, and balance testing. Balance testing was used to measure postural sway, an indirect method of examining proprioceptive sense. Subjective information regarding functional knee instability was also collected from all subjects. The authors found no difference in proprioceptive sense between ACL injured and control subjects. Moderate correlation was found between subjective information and objective data. Further study is suggested.


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