Increasing Quadriceps Loads Affect the Lengths of the Ligaments and the Kinematics of the Knee

[+] Author and Article Information
Y.-F. Hsieh, L. F. Draganich

The University of Chicago, Section of Orthopædics and Rehabilitation Medicine, Department of Surgery, 5841 South Maryland Ave., MC 3079, Chicago, IL 60637

J Biomech Eng 120(6), 750-756 (Dec 01, 1998) (7 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2834889 History: Received March 17, 1997; Revised May 16, 1998; Online January 23, 2008


The relationships between the lengths of the ligaments and kinematics of the knee and quadriceps load, for low to physiologic levels of quadriceps loads, have not previously been studied. We investigated the effects of increasing levels of quadriceps force, necessary to balance increasing levels of externally applied flexion moments, on the kinematics of the tibiofemoral joint and on the separation distances between insertions of selected fibers of the major ligaments of the knee in twelve cadavera. Static measurements were made using a six-degree-of-freedom digitizer for flexion angles ranging from 0 to 120 deg in 15 deg increments. Quadriceps generated extension of the knee was performed by applying loads to the quadriceps tendon to equilibrate each of four magnitudes of external flexion moments equivalent to 8.33, 16.67, 25.00, and 33.33 percent of values previously reported for maximum isometric extension moments. The magnitude of quadriceps force increased linearly (p < 0.0001) as external flexion moment increased throughout the entire range of flexion. Anterior translation, internal rotation, and abduction of the tibia increased linearly (p < 0.0001, p < 0.001, p < 0.001) as external flexion moment and, hence, quadriceps load increased. For the fibers studied, the anterior cruciate ligament (p < 0.0076), posterior cruciate ligament (p < 0.0001), and medial collateral ligament (p < 0.0383) lengthened linearly while the lateral collateral ligament (p < 0.0124) shortened linearly as quadriceps load increased. Based on these results for low to physiologic levels of quadriceps loads, it is reasonable to assume that the ligament lengths or knee kinematics expected with higher quadriceps loads can be extrapolated.

Copyright © 1998 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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