Hamstrings co-activation in ACL-deficient subjects during isometric whole-leg extensions

S. Aalbersberg, I. Kingma, J.H. van Dieen

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    Abstract

    It has been reported that anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)-deficient subjects increase the level of hamstrings activation and this has been interpreted as a means to cope with increased anterior tibial laxity in the knee. This study aimed to establish to what extent co-activation strategies in ACL-deficient subjects are load level and knee angle dependent. Eleven chronic ACL-deficient and 15 control subjects were positioned in a range of postures and asked to exert a feedback controlled vertical ground reaction force (GRF; 30, 60% and maximum), while horizontal forces were not constrained. Surface electromyography of the leg muscles and GRF were measured. In postures with the knee over and in front of the ankle, ACL-deficient subjects generated, respectively, 2.4 and 5.1% MVC more hamstrings activation than control subjects. Enhanced hamstrings co-activation in ACL-deficient subjects was more apparent in extended than in flexed knee angles. For both ACL-deficient and control subjects, hamstrings co-activation was larger in males than in females. It is concluded that ACL-deficient subjects show a task dependent increase in hamstrings co-activation, but its clinical significance remains to be shown. © Springer-Verlag 2009.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)946-955
    JournalKnee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy
    Volume17
    Issue number8
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2009

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