Indexed on: 08 Jan '08Published on: 08 Jan '08Published in: Clinical Biomechanics
Different rehabilitation exercises such as open-kinetic-chain flexion and extension exercises are currently employed in non-operative and post-operative managements of joint disorders. The challenge is to strengthen the muscles and to restore the near-normal function of the joint while protecting its components (e.g., the reconstructed ligament) from excessive stresses.Using a validated 3D nonlinear finite element model, the detailed biomechanics of the entire joint in open-kinetic-chain flexion exercises are investigated at 0 degrees, 30 degrees, 60 degrees and 90 degrees joint angles. Two loading cases are simulated; one with only the weight of the leg and the foot while the second considers also a moderate resistant force of 30 N acting at the ankle perpendicular to the tibia.The addition of 30 N resistant force substantially increased the required hamstrings forces, forces in posterior cruciate and lateral collateral ligaments and joint contact forces/areas/stresses.At post-anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction or injury period, the exercise could safely be employed to strengthen the hamstrings muscles without a risk to the anterior cruciate ligament. In contrast, at post-posterior cruciate/lateral collateral ligaments reconstructions or injuries, the open-kinetic-chain flexion exercise should be avoided under moderate to large flexion angles and resistant forces.