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Arthroscopy. 2013 Oct;29(10):1644-52. doi: 10.1016/j.arthro.2013.07.258. Epub 2013 Aug 29.

Effects of knee bracing on tibial rotation during high loading activities in anterior cruciate ligament-reconstructed knees.

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Orthopaedic Sports Medicine Center, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Ioannina, Ioannina, Greece. Electronic address:



To test whether knee bracing restores normal rotational knee kinematics in anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)-reconstructed knees during high-demand, athletic activities.


Twenty male patients who had undergone unilateral ACL reconstruction with a bone-patellar tendon-bone autograft were assessed in vivo. The mean time from surgery to data collection was 26 months (range, 25 to 28 months). An 8-camera optoelectronic system was used to collect kinematic data while each patient performed 2 demanding tasks: (1) immediate pivoting after descending from a stair and (2) immediate pivoting after landing from a platform. Each task was performed under 3 conditions for the reconstructed knee: (1) wearing a prophylactic brace (braced condition), (2) wearing a patellofemoral brace (sleeved condition), and (3) without a brace (non-braced condition). As a control group, patients with intact ACLs were tested without any bracing. This study protocol was identical to the protocol of a previous study that investigated the effect of bracing on ACL-deficient athletes.


For both tasks, the range of motion of tibial rotation was significantly lower in the intact knee compared with all 3 conditions of the ACL-reconstructed knee (P ≤ .014). Placing a brace or a sleeve on the ACL-reconstructed knee resulted in lower rotation than the non-braced condition (P ≤ .022), whereas no significant differences were found between the sleeved and the braced conditions (P ≥ .110).


Bracing limited the excessive tibial rotation in ACL-reconstructed knees during pivoting that occurs under high-demand activities. However, full restoration to normative values was not achieved. Thereby, braces have the potential to decrease rotational knee instability that still remains after ACL reconstruction.

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