Background: The muscle-tendon properties of the semitendinosus (ST) and gracilis (GR) are substantially altered following tendon harvest for the purpose of anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR). This study adopted a musculoskeletal modelling approach to determine how the changes to the ST and GR muscle-tendon properties alter their contribution to medial compartment contact loading within the tibiofemoral joint in post ACLR patients, and the extent to which other muscles compensate under the same external loading conditions during walking, running and sidestep cutting. Materials and methods: Motion capture and electromyography (EMG) data from 16 lower extremity muscles were acquired during walking, running and cutting in 25 participants that had undergone an ACLR using a quadruple (ST+GR) hamstring auto-graft. An EMG-driven musculoskeletal model was used to estimate the medial compartment contact loads during the stance phase of each gait task. An adjusted model was then created by altering muscle-tendon properties for the ST and GR to reflect their reported changes following ACLR. Parameters for the other muscles in the model were calibrated to match the experimental joint moments. Results: The medial compartment contact loads for the standard and adjusted models were similar. The combined contributions of ST and GR to medial compartment contact load in the adjusted model were reduced by 26%, 17% and 17% during walking, running and cutting, respectively. These deficits were balanced by increases in the contribution made by the semimembranosus muscle of 33% and 22% during running and cutting, respectively. Conclusion: Alterations to the ST and GR muscle-tendon properties in ACLR patients resulted in reduced contribution to medial compartment contact loads during gait tasks, for which the semimembranosus muscle can compensate.
Konrath, J. M., Saxby, D. J., Killen, B. A., Pizzolato, C., Vertullo, C. J., Barrett, R. S., & Lloyd, D. G. (2017). Muscle contributions to medial tibiofemoral compartment contact loading following ACL reconstruction using semitendinosus and gracilis tendon grafts. PLoS ONE, 12(4). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0176016