Background: Muscle strength of the involved limb is known to be decreased after injury. Comparison with the uninvolved limb has become standard of practice to measure progress and for calculation of limb symmetry indices (LSIs) to determine readiness to return to sport. However, some literature suggests strength changes in the uninvolved limb also are present after lower extremity injury. Purpose: To examine the uninvolved limb strength in a population of adolescent athletes after an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury and compare strength values with those of the dominant limb in a healthy control group. Study Design: Cohort study; Level of evidence, 3. Methods: A total of 64 athletes were enrolled in this study, including 31with injured ACLs (mean age, 15.6 ± 1.4 years) and 33 healthy controls (mean age, 14.9 ± 1.9 years). The median time from injury to testing was 23 days for the ACL-injured group. Participants underwent Biodex isokinetic strength testing at 60 deg/s to assess quadriceps and hamstring strength. Isometric hip strength (abduction, extension, external rotation) was measured using a handheld dynamometer. The muscle strength of the uninvolved limb of the ACL-injured group was compared with that of the dominant limb of the healthy control group. Results: The results showed a significant difference in quadriceps muscle strength between the 2 study groups (P <.001). Isokinetic quadriceps strength of the uninvolved limb in the ACL group was significantly decreased by 25.5% (P <.001) when compared with the dominant limb of the control group. Conclusion: The results of this study demonstrate a decreased isokinetic strength of the quadriceps muscle in the uninvolved limb after ACL injury as compared with healthy controls. Consideration should be taken when using the uninvolved limb for comparison when assessing quadriceps strength in a population with an ACL injury.
- anterior cruciate ligament
- return to sport
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine