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Changes in Gait Biomechanics Between Level and Downhill Walking Do Not Differ Between Those With Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction and Controls

Conference: The American College of Sports Medicine 2020 Annual Meeting
Abstract: Conflicting evidence exists regarding the presence of aberrant gait biomechanics more than one-year following anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR). Overground walking may not elucidate differences in those further removed from surgery due to the unexacting nature of the task. Quadriceps dysfunction is common post-ACLR and contributes to aberrant gait biomechanics, thus downhill walking may exacerbate differences as this task places greater demands on the quadriceps. Purpose: To compare gait biomechanics between individuals with ACLR and healthy controls during level and downhill walking conditions. Methods: 24 individuals more than 1-year removed from ACLR and 24 healthy controls completed both level and downhill (10 degree grade) gait biomechanics assessments on an instrumented split-belt treadmill at their preferred walking speed. Peak variables were evaluated over the first 50% of stance including the vertical ground reaction force, internal knee extension and abduction moments and knee flexion angle. Moments were normalized to %body weight*height (%BW*Ht) and vGRF was normalized to %body weight. Dependent variables were compared across groups and conditions via two-way repeated measures ANCOVAs controlling for gait speed. Results: There were no significant condition*group interaction effects nor group main effects for any outcomes. However, there were significant condition increases in knee extension moment (P=0.020) and knee flexion angle (P=0.018) from level to downhill. Conclusions: Downhill walking necessitates larger knee extension moments and knee flexion angle compared to level gait. Our results suggest that changes in gait biomechanics between level and downhill conditions do not differ between individuals with ACLR >1 year post-reconstruction and controls.
Listed In: Biomechanics, Gait, Orthopedic Research,
Tagged In: ACL Injury, Gait Biomechanics

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