Neuromuscular and biomechanical adaptations of patients with isolated deficiency of the posterior cruciate ligament

Cristián A. Fontboté, Timothy C. Sell, Kevin G. Laudner, Marcus Haemmerle, Christina R. Allen, Fabrizio Margheritini, Scott M. Lephart, Christopher D. Harner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Background: Functional adaptations of patients with posterior cruciate ligament deficiency (grade II) are largely unknown despite increased recognition of this injury. Hypothesis: Posterior cruciate ligament-deficient subjects (grade II, 6- to 10-mm bilateral difference in posterior translation) will present with neuromuscular and biomechanical adaptations to overcome significant mechanical instability during gait and drop-landing tasks. Study Design: Controlled laboratory study. Methods: Bilateral comparisons were made among 10 posterior cruciate ligament-deficient subjects using radiographic, instrumented laxity, and range of motion examinations. Biomechanical and neuromuscular characteristics of the involved limb of the posterior cruciate ligament-deficient subjects were compared to their uninvolved limb and to 10 matched control subjects performing gait and drop-landing tasks. Results: Radiographic (15.3 ± 2.9 to 5.6 ± 3.7 mm; P = .008) and instrumented laxity (6.3 ± 2.0 to 1.4 ± 0.5 mm; P < .001) examinations demonstrated significantly greater posterior displacement of the involved knee within the posterior cruciate ligament-deficient group. The posterior cruciate ligament-deficient group had a significantly decreased maximum knee valgus moment and greater vertical ground reaction force at midstance during gait compared to the control group. During vertical landings, the posterior cruciate ligament-deficient group demonstrated a significantly decreased vertical ground reaction force loading rate. All other analyses reported no significant differences within or between groups. Conclusion: Posterior cruciate ligament-deficient subjects demonstrate minimal biomechanical and neuromuscular differences despite significant clinical laxity. Clinical Relevance: The findings of this study indicate that individuals with grade II posterior cruciate ligament injuries are able to perform gait and drop-landing activities similar to a control group without surgical intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)982-989
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2005


  • Biomechanics
  • Knee injuries
  • Neuromuscular
  • Posterior cruciate ligament (PCL)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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