Knee joint motion and ligament forces before and after ACL reconstruction

J. L. Lewis, W. D. Lew, J. A. Hill, P. Hanley, K. Ohland, S. Kirstukas, R. E. Hunter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


The goal of this in vitro study was to investigate the initial postoperative mechanical state of the knee with various types of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstructions. An experimental knee testing system was developed for the in vitro measurement of ligament forces and three-dimensional joint motion as external loads were applied to fresh knee specimens. Two groups of knee specimens were tested. In test series #1, two intraarticular reconstructions were performed in each of five specimens using semifree and free patellar tendon grafts with bone blocks. In test series #2, a more carefully controlled intraarticular reconstruction was performed in five specimens using a semifree composite graft consisting of the semitendinosus and gracilis tendons augmented with the Ligament Augmentation Device. Ligament force and joint motion data were collected as anteriorly directed tibial loads were applied to the normal joint, the joint with a cut ACL and the reconstructed joint. These knee joint states were compared on the basis of ACL or graft forces, joint motion and load sharing by the collateral ligaments. The dominate result of the study was that the forces and motions defining the mechanical state of the knee after the ACL reconstructions in both test series were highly variable and abnormal when compared to the normal knee state. The higher level of surgical control series #2 did not decrease this variability. There was a poor correlation between motion of the reconstructed knee relative to normal, and the A CL graft force. There was little consistent difference in force and motion results between the surgical procedures tested.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)97-105
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biomechanical Engineering
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Physiology (medical)


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