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Introduction: The temporal structure of gait variability has shown that healthy human gait exhibits long- range correlations and deterministic properties which allow the neuromuscular system to be flexible and adaptable to stresses. Pathology results in deterioration of these properties. We examined structure of gait variability after ACL reconstruction with either BPTB or quadrupled ST/G tendon autografts.

Methods: Six patients with BPTB reconstruction, six with ST/G reconstruction and six healthy controls walked on a treadmill at their self-selected pace. Two minutes of continuous kinematic data were recorded with a 6-camera optoelectronic system. The nonlinear measure of the largest Lyapunov Exponent (LyE) was estimated from the knee flexion-extension time series from 100 continuous walking strides to assess the structure of gait variability.

Results: The reconstructed limbs in both reconstructed groups exhibited significantly larger LyE values than the control limbs (p < 0.05), even though clinical outcomes indicated complete restoration. No significant differences were found between the two autografts. In addition, the intact contralateral leg produced significant higher LyE values as compared with the ACL-reconstructed leg in both groups. No interaction was found.

Discussion: The larger LyE values indicate that the reconstructed knees of both reconstructed groups exhibit more divergence in the movement trajectories during gait. The larger Lye values found in the intact leg in both reconstructed groups could be interpreted as a compensatory mechanism. However, the increased divergence found in both limbs may present an alternative explanation for the impaired neuromuscular performance and increased susceptibility to future pathology, which is supported by the increased amount of osteoarthritis found in ACL-reconstructed patients.


NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Gait & Posture. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Gait & Posture, Vol. 32 , Issue 32 (2010), DOI: 10.1016/j.gaitpost.2010.04.008

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Gait & Posture





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