Background: Athletes have traditionally been subdivided into risk classifications for ACL injury relative to the biomechanical traits they display during landing. This investigation aimed to discern whether these separate risk classifications elicit strain differences on the ACL and MCL during landing. It was hypothesized that the higher risk simulation profiles would exhibit greater ACL strain and that the ACL would exhibit greater strain than the MCL under all conditions. Method: The mechanical impact simulator was used to simulate landing on a cohort of 46 cadaveric specimens. The simulator applied external joint loads to the knee prior to impulse delivery. These loads were organized into a series of profiles derived from in vivo motion capture previously performed on a cohort of 44 athletes and represented various risk classifications. Strain gauges were implanted on the ACL and MCL and simulations performed until a structural failure was elicited. Differences were assessed with Kruskal-Wallis tests. Findings: The highest-risk profiles tended to exhibit greater peak ACL strain and change in ACL strain than the baseline- and moderate-risk profiles. Specimens that failed during lower-risk simulations expressed greater strain at these loads than specimens that completed higher-risk simulations. The ACL recorded greater strain than the MCL throughout all simulation profiles. Interpretation: This behavior justifies why neuromuscular interventions have greater impact on higher-risk athletes and supports the continued screening and targeted training of those athletes that express greater injury risk. The loading disparity between ACL and MCL justifies their limited concomitant injury rate.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine