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Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 1999 Jan;7(1):110-21.

Injury and reconstruction of the anterior cruciate ligament and knee osteoarthritis.

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  • 1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.



The objective of this study was to study injury and reconstruction of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and their effects on knee osteoarthritis.


This manuscript discusses the function of knee ligaments, including the basic mechanical properties, the structural properties of their respective bone-ligament-bone complexes, as well as their time- and history-dependent viscoelastic characteristics. The in-situ forces in the ACL and its replacement grafts and knee kinematics before and after ACL reconstruction are also examined.


A robotic/universal force-moment sensor (UFS) testing system has been developed which offers a unique method in determining the multiple-degree of freedom knee kinematics and in-situ forces in human cadaveric knees. Under a 110 N anterior tibial load we found at flexion angles of 15 degrees or lower, there was a significantly larger in-situ force in the PL bundle (approximately 75 N) of the ACL as compared to the AM bundle (approximately 35 N)(P < 0.05). We also found that a quadruple semitendinosus and gracilis tendon ACL graft may be better at fully restoring in-situ forces for the whole range of knee flexion when compared to a bone-patellar tendon-bone ACL graft.


The robotic/UFS testing system allows us to determine knee kinematics and the in-situ forces in cadaveric knees in a non-invasive, non-contact manner. Additionally, the ability to reproduce kinematics during testing allows us to evaluate ACL and ACL graft function under external and simulated muscle loading conditions. Finally, we can also examine many of the variables of ACL reconstructions that affect knee kinematics and graft forces including graft tensioning, graft type, graft placement and tibial positioning during graft fixation.

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