, Volume 14, Issue 6, pp 555-563
Date: 06 Apr 2006

Study on three-dimensional kinematics and electromyography of ACL deficient knee participants wearing a functional knee brace during running

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Abstract

This investigation examined the muscular activity and 3D knee joint kinematic changes of anterior cruciate ligament-deficient (ACLD) participants in the involved leg under bracing condition during running. Different adaptation strategies have been found between patients who can cope with the injury and patients who cannot. One of the expected changes can be the muscle activation characteristic of the injured knee during strenuous activity with and without a functional knee brace. Three-dimensional kinematic and electromyographical (EMG) data were collected from 11 participants for 10 consecutive gait cycles during running on a treadmill under both braced and unbraced conditions. Participants were administered the “Knee Outcome Survey Activities of Daily Living Scale” to distinguish functional and non-functional candidates. No significant differences on 3D kinematics and EMG data were noted between functional and non-functional participants, thus data analysis focused on comparisons of bracing conditions for one combined group. Bracing significantly reduced total range of motion in the frontal and transverse planes (P<0.05). Muscle activity at heel-strike showed a consistent trend to increase for the hamstrings and decrease for the quadriceps under the braced condition when compared to the unbraced condition. Our findings indicate that bracing the ACLD knee alters the kinematics of the injured leg while running. Tendencies toward reductions in quadriceps and increases in hamstrings activity at heel-strike indicate that bracing might have resulted in added stability of the injured knee. The adaptations to bracing found in this preliminary study further support the potential mechanical and proprioceptive contributions of the functional knee brace to protect the ACLD knee.