Longitudinal Gait and Strength Changes Prior to and Following an Anterior Cruciate Ligament Rupture and Surgical Reconstruction: A Case Report
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STUDY DESIGN: Case report. BACKGROUND: Cross-sectional studies have examined deficits following anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) rupture and subsequent reconstructive surgery. Few studies present preinjury data that may assist in identifying risk factors for ACL rupture. This case report compares gait and strength measures obtained prior to ACL rupture, with follow-up assessments of these measures after rupture and reconstructive surgery. CASE DESCRIPTION: A 23-year-old woman sustained a noncontact rupture of her right ACL. Kinematic and kinetic gait data were collected using 3-dimensional motion analysis and a synchronized force plate. Knee strength was measured using an isokinetic dynamometer. Data for knee active range of motion (AROM) and the Lower Extremity Functional Scale (LEFS) were also collected. The analyses were descriptive and interpreted based on previously published minimal detectable change and minimal clinically important difference values. OUTCOMES: Before her injury, the patient demonstrated a low external knee flexion moment during gait. Kinematic and kinetic gait abnormalities were present following rupture and persisted at 13 months postsurgery. The patient demonstrated knee strength deficits following ACL rupture and surgery. Steady gains in LEFS and knee AROM occurred following rupture and surgery. DISCUSSION: Preinjury data may identify risk factors for ACL rupture. Future studies should examine whether a low external knee flexion moment during gait or sport-related activity is a risk factor for ACL rupture. The patient demonstrated deficits in gait and strength that persisted at 13 months postsurgery. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Therapy, level 4.
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