Neuromuscular activity during stair descent in ACL reconstructed patients : A pilot study

Busch, Aglaja; Blasimann Schwarz, Angela; Henle, Philipp; Baur, Heiner (2019). Neuromuscular activity during stair descent in ACL reconstructed patients : A pilot study The Knee, 26(2), pp. 310-316. Elsevier 10.1016/j.knee.2018.12.011

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Background: The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) rupture is a severe knee injury. Altered kinematics and kinetics in ACL reconstructed (ACL-R) patients compared to healthy participants (ACL-I) are known and attributed to an altered sensorimotor control. However, studies on neuromuscular control often lack homogeneous patient cohorts. The objective was to examine neuromuscular activity during stair descent in patients one year after ACL reconstruction. Method: Neuromuscular activity of vastus medialis (VM) and lateralis (VL), biceps femoris (BF) and semitendinosus (ST) was recorded by electromyography in 10 ACL-R (age: 26 ± 10 years; height: 175 ± 6 cm; mass: 75 ± 14 kg) and 10 healthy matched controls (age: 31 ± 7 years; height: 175 ± 7 cm; mass: 68 ± 10 kg). A 10-minute walking treadmill warm-up was used for submaximal normalization. Afterwards participants descended 10 times a six-step stairway at a self-selected speed. The movement was separated into pre-activation (PRE), weight acceptance (WA) and push-off phase (PO). Normalized root mean squares for each muscle, limb and movement phase were calculated. Kruskal-Wallis ANOVA compared ACL-R injured and contralateral leg and the ACL-I leg (α = 0.05). Results: Significant increased normalised activity in ST during WA in ACL-R injured leg compared to ACL-I and during PO in VL in the ACL-R contralateral leg compared to ACL-I. Decreased activity was shown in VM in ACL-R injured compared to contralateral leg (p b 0.05). Conclusion: Altered neuromuscular activations are present one year after ACL reconstruction compared to the contralateral and healthy matched control limb. Current standard rehabilitation programs may not be able to fully restore sensorimotor control and demand further investigations.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


School of Health Professions
School of Health Professions > Physiotherapy
School of Health Professions > Physiotherapy > Neuromuscular Control


Busch, Aglaja0000-0001-6025-3710;
Blasimann Schwarz, Angela0000-0003-0934-8284;
Henle, Philipp and
Baur, Heiner0000-0002-4780-225X








Angela Blasimann Schwarz

Date Deposited:

04 Nov 2019 13:44

Last Modified:

19 Mar 2024 15:12

Publisher DOI:





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