Due to the likelihood of hamstring dysfunction associated with anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury, it is clinically significant to determine if a hamstring weakness exists preoperatively. The purpose of this study was to determine if a hamstring muscle deficit existed at the time of surgery and to determine the time necessary to achieve hamstring strength equal to preoperative measures of the uninvolved extremity during postoperative rehabilitation. Twelve patients who underwent ACL reconstruction using a patellar tendon autograft participated. Each subject underwent a preoperative isometric knee strength evaluation at 60° of knee flexion. Each subject underwent postoperative rehabilitation including hamstring muscle strengthening. Repeat isometric testing was performed on each subject at 21 and 42 days postoperative. There was no statistical difference in hamstring muscle strength, as measured by isometric peak torque, either preoperatively or postoperatively. Therefore, maintaining rather than increasing hamstring strength postoperatively should be emphasized as an integral part of rehabilitation.
J. Allen Hardin is with the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics for Men, The University of Texas at Austin, Box 7399, Austin, TX 78713-7399. At time of study, he was with the Berkshire Institute of Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy, Wyomissing, PA. John A. Guido is with the Berkshire Institute of Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy, 2201 Ridgewood Road, Suite 375, Wyomissing, PA 19610. Christopher J. Hughes is with the School of Physical Therapy, Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania, Slippery Rock, PA 16057-1326.