Research paper by Kristy A KA Pottkotter, Stephanie L SL Di Stasi, Laura C LC Schmitt, Robert A RA Magnussen, Mark V MV Paterno, David C DC Flanigan, Christopher C CC Kaeding, Timothy E TE Hewett

Indexed on: 22 Dec '20Published on: 22 Dec '20Published in: International journal of sports physical therapy


Quadriceps weakness is a predictor of long-term knee function and strength recovery can vary from months to years after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR). However, few studies evaluate quadriceps strength and self-reported function within the first several weeks after ACLR. To examine changes over time in quadriceps strength symmetry, quadriceps peak torque, and self-reported knee function prior to and at six, 12, and 24 weeks post-ACLR. The hypotheses were 1) quadriceps strength symmetry, bilateral quadriceps peak torque, and patient-reported function would improve over time from pre-ACLR to 24 weeks post-ACLR and 2) significant improvements in patient-reported function, but not strength symmetry, would occur between time points. Prospective, cohort study. Thirty participants completed four testing sessions: pre-surgery and six, 12, and 24 weeks post-ACLR. Isometric quadriceps strength testing was performed at six weeks and isokinetic quadriceps strength was measured at all other testing points. Quadriceps index was calculated to evaluate between limb quadriceps strength symmetry. The Knee injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (KOOS) and International Knee Documentation Committee Subjective Knee Evaluation Form (IKDC) were administered at each time point. A repeated-measures analysis of variance evaluated changes over time, with post-hoc comparisons to determine at which time-point significant changes occurred. Quadriceps strength symmetry, involved limb quadriceps peak torque and all patient-reported outcome scores increased over time (p<0.02). Post-hoc tests showed that neither self-reported outcomes, nor quadriceps index improved between pre-surgery and six-weeks post-ACLR. From six to 12 weeks post-ACLR, scores on IKDC and KOOS Pain, Symptoms, Quality of Life, and Sport subscales improved (p≤0.003). From 12 to 24 weeks post-ACLR, quadriceps strength symmetry, involved limb quadriceps peak torque, KOOS-Symptoms, Quality of Life, and Sport subscales and the IKDC improved (p≤0.01). Uninvolved limb quadriceps peak torque did not change across any time point (p≥0.18). Patient-reported knee function increased between six and 24 weeks post-ACLR, while increases in involved limb quadriceps strength and quadriceps strength symmetry were not noted until 12-24 weeks post-ACLR. 2b, individual cohort study. © 2020 by the Sports Physical Therapy Section.