Send to

Choose Destination
Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 2018 Nov 12. doi: 10.1007/s00167-018-5283-x. [Epub ahead of print]

The significant effect of the medial hamstrings on dynamic knee stability.

Author information

Kerlan Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic, Orthopaedic Surgery, Sports Medicine, Los Angeles, CA, USA.
Kerlan Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic, Orthopaedic Surgery, Sports Medicine, Los Angeles, CA, USA.
Orthopaedic Biomechanics Laboratory, VA Long Beach Healthcare System, Long Beach, CA, USA.
University of California, Irvine, USA.



While hamstring autograft is a popular option for the general population, BTB autograft is still significantly more popular among professional athletes due to concerns of altering knee kinematics with hamstring harvest. This study seeks to quantify the contribution of the medial hamstrings to knee stability.


Valgus knee laxity, anterior tibial translation, and rotational motion were measured in eight fresh-frozen cadaveric knees after forces were applied on the tibia in each plane (coronal, sagittal, and axial). Four muscle loading conditions were tested: (1) physiologic fully loaded pes anserinus, (2) semitendinosus only loaded, (3) gracilis only loaded, and (4) unloaded pes anserinus. The protocol was then repeated with the ACL transected.


In the ACL intact knee, the neutral position of the tibia with an unloaded pes anserinus was significantly more externally rotated (p < 0.01) and anteriorly translated (p < 0.05) at all knee flexion angles than a tibia with a physiologic loaded pes anserinus. Applying an external rotation torque significantly increased external rotation for the fully unloaded (p < 0.001), gracilis only loaded (p < 0.001), and semitendinosus only loaded (p < 0.01) conditions at all flexion angles. Applying a valgus torque resulted in a significant increase in laxity for the fully unloaded condition only at 30° of flexion (p < 0.05). Applying an anterior tibial force resulted in significant increase in anterior translation for the fully unloaded condition at all flexion angles (p < 0.01), and for the gracilis only loaded condition in 30° and 60° of flexion (p < 0.05). Similar results were seen in the ACL deficient model.


The medial hamstrings are involved in rotational, translational, and varus/valgus control of the knee. Applying anterior, external rotation, and valgus forces on the hamstring deficient knee significantly increases motion in those planes. Harvesting the gracilis and semitendinosus tendons alters native knee kinematics and stability. This is clinically relevant and should be a consideration when choosing graft source for ACL reconstruction, especially in the elite athlete population.


ACL; Gracilis; Hamstring autograft; Knee stability; Pes anserinus; Semitendinosus


Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Springer
Loading ...
Support Center