This study evaluated knee joint position sense in the ACL-reconstructed and contralateral normal knees of 48 male and female subjects (M age 27.6 ± 6.9 yrs). Subjects were blindfolded and tested on their ability to actively reproduce five passively placed knee positions at 5° intervals between 35 and 15° of knee flexion. Mean algebraic target angle error and mean absolute error values were measured in degrees. The grand mean absolute error for the postsurgical knees at all positions was 5.4 ± 3.2°, compared with 5.2 ± 2.7° for the normal contralateral knees. There were no significant differences in knee joint position sense between the postsurgical and normal contralateral limbs at any of the five positions tested. Pivot shift, anterolateral rotatory instability, and Lachman test results were poorly correlated with knee joint position sense. The results suggest that if knee joint position sense was indeed disrupted by ACL injury and reconstructive surgery, related sensory mechanisms compensated for any proprioceptive loss prior to the minimum 2-yr postsurgical follow-up period employed in our study.
This paper was presented at the 36th Annual Meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine, Baltimore, June 1989.
R.A. Harter is with the Dept. of Exercise and Sport Science at Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331. L.R. Osternig is with the Dept. of Exercise and Movement Science at the University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403. K.M. Singer is with the Orthopedic and Fracture Clinic of Eugene, Eugene, OR 97401.