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J Electromyogr Kinesiol. 2005 Feb;15(1):83-92.

Elucidation of a potentially destabilizing control strategy in ACL deficient non-copers.

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  • 1Department of Physical Therapy, Graduate Program in Biomechanics and Movement Sciences, and Center for Biomedical Engineering Research, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716, USA.



The purpose was to differentiate the dynamic knee stabilization strategies of potential copers (individuals who have the potential to compensate for the absence of an ACL without episodes of giving way after return to pre-injury activities) and non-copers (those who have knee instability following ACL rupture with return to pre-injury activities).


Twenty subjects with ACL rupture were assigned to potential coper (n=10) and non-coper (n=10) groups via a screening examination. Ten active people without lower extremity injury were also tested. Knee angle, tibial position and muscle activity data were collected while subjects stood in unilateral stance on a platform that moved horizontally in an anterior direction. Analysis included the preparation for platform movement; and monosynaptic, intermediate reflex and voluntary response intervals after platform movement.


Non-copers showed greater knee flexion than uninjured subjects, and had a posterior tibial position and altered hamstring recruitment compared to the other groups. Potential copers demonstrated greater medial quadriceps activity while maintaining knee kinematics similar to uninjured subjects. Both potential copers and non-copers had greater co-contraction between medial hamstrings and quadriceps than uninjured subjects. All excitatory muscle activation occurred in the intermediate reflex interval.


Non-copers displayed aberrant muscle recruitment that may contribute to knee instability. Potential copers maintained normal tibial position using a strategy that permits quadriceps activation without excessive anterior tibial translation. Muscle recruitment in the intermediate reflex interval suggests neuromuscular training may influence the strategies.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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