Development of a strength test battery for evaluating leg muscle power after anterior cruciate ligament injury and reconstruction
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A more sports-specific and detailed strength assessment has been advocated for patients after anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury and reconstruction. The purpose of this study was to develop a test battery of lower extremity strength tests with high ability to discriminate between leg power development on the injured and uninjured sides in patients after ACL injury and in patients who have undergone ACL reconstruction. Twenty-three patients were tested 6 months after ACL injury and 44 patients were tested 6 months after ACL reconstruction. Twenty-four of the 44 patients were operated on using a hamstrings graft and 20 patients were operated on using a patellar tendon graft. All the patients performed a test battery of three strength tests for each leg in a randomised order. The three strength tests were chosen to reflect quadriceps and hamstring muscular power in a knee-extension and a knee-flexion test (open kinetic chain) and lower-extremity muscular power in a leg-press test (closed kinetic chain). There was a higher sensitivity for the test battery to discriminate abnormal leg power compared with any of the three strength tests individually. Nine out of ten patients after ACL reconstruction and six out of ten of the patients after ACL injury exhibited abnormal leg power symmetry using the test battery. Thus, this test battery had high ability in terms of discriminating between the leg power performance on the injured and uninjured side, both in patients with an ACL injury and in patients who have undergone ACL reconstruction. It is concluded that a test battery consisting of a knee-extension, knee-flexion and leg-press muscle power test had high ability to determine deficits in leg power 6 months after ACL injury and reconstruction. Only a minority of the patients had restored leg muscle power. The clinical relevance is that the test battery may contribute to the decision-making process when deciding whether and when patients can safely return to strenuous physical activities after an ACL injury or reconstruction.
KeywordsMuscle power Knee extension Knee flexion Leg press Test battery
This study was supported by a grant from the Swedish Centre for Research in Sports and The Local Research and Development Council for Gothenburg and Southern Bohuslän, Sweden. The authors declare that the experiments comply with the current laws of Sweden.
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