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J Orthop Res. 2019 May 1. doi: 10.1002/jor.24330. [Epub ahead of print]

The Complex Relationship Between In Vivo ACL Elongation and Knee Kinematics During Walking and Running.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Kobe University Graduate School of Medicine, Kobe, Hyogo, Japan.


In vivo anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) bundle (anteromedial bundle [AMB] and posterolateral bundle [PLB]) relative elongation during walking and running remain unknown. In this study, we aimed to investigate in vivo ACL relative elongation over the full gait cycle during walking and running. Ten healthy volunteers walked and ran at a self-selected pace on an instrumented treadmill while biplane radiographs of the knee were acquired at 100 Hz (walking) and 150 Hz (running). Tibiofemoral kinematics were determined using a validated model-based tracking process. The boundaries of ACL insertions were identified using high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The AMB and PLB centroid-to-centroid distances were calculated from the tracked bone motions, and these bundle lengths were normalized to their respective lengths on MRI to calculate relative elongation. Maximum AMB relative elongation during running (6.7 ± 2.1%) was significantly greater than walking (5.0 ± 1.7%, p = 0.043), whereas the maximum PLB relative elongation during running (1.1 ± 2.1%) was significantly smaller than walking (3.4 ± 2.3%, p = 0.014). During running, the maximum AMB relative elongation was significantly greater than the maximum PLB relative elongation (p < 0.001). ACL relative elongations were correlated with tibiofemoral six degree-of-freedom kinematics. The AMB and PLB demonstrate similar elongation patterns but different amounts of relative elongation during walking and running. The complex relationship observed between ACL relative elongation and knee kinematics indicates that ACL relative elongation is impacted by tibiofemoral kinematic parameters in addition to flexion/extension. These findings suggest that ACL strain is region-specific during walking and running. © 2019 Orthopaedic Research Society. Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Orthop Res.


anterior cruciate ligament; biplane radiography system; elongation; running; walking


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