August 2011

Athletes of both genders risk asymmetry in landing kinetics after surgery on ACL

In the moment: Sports medicine

Female athletes may have a greater risk of a primary anterior cruciate ligament injury than their male counterparts, but following ACL reconstruction both genders are equally prone to asymmetrical landing kinetics that could lead to a second injury, according to research from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.

Investigators analyzed vertical ground reaction force (vGRF) during a bilateral drop-jump landing in 42 uninjured athletes (29 female) and 56 athletes (35 female) who had been released to return to activity following ACL reconstruction.

Peak vGRF during the landing phase of the drop-jump was significantly lower in the operated limb of the ACL-reconstructed athletes than in the unaffected limb of those athletes or in either limb of the control participants. No significant gender-related differences were observed.

The findings, e-published on August 1 by the Journal of Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy, suggest that current rehabilitation protocols following ACL reconstruction do not adequately restore kinetic symmetry in either male or female athletes. The authors theorize that the resulting imbalances could increase the risk of additional injury.

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