Arthrometric curve-shape variables to assess anterior cruciate ligament deficiency

Samuel C. Wordeman, Mark V. Paterno, Carmen E. Quatman, Nathaniel A. Bates, Timothy E. Hewett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background: Instrumented measurement of asymmetry in anterior-posterior knee laxity is commonly used to assess anterior cruciate ligament integrity. Significant advances in arthrometric technology and data visualization have occurred since first generation arthrometers. However, little has changed with regard to diagnostic criteria employed. To our knowledge, no investigations have assessed the shape of laxity curves to diagnose anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) deficiency. We hypothesized that linear stiffness and compliance after positive curve inflection would be more sensitive and specific to anterior cruciate ligament injury than current measures and would require data from the involved limb only. Methods: Laxity curves were obtained from 130 knees on 65 subjects (Anterior Cruciate Injured n = 15, Controls n = 50) using a CompuKT Knee Ligament Arthrometer. Traditional diagnostic variables and novel descriptive curve-shape variables [(1) inflection point, (2) pre- and post-inflection linear stiffness and (3) a modified compliance index based on the post-inflection linear stiffness] were assessed for sensitivity to anterior cruciate ligament deficiency. Statistical interactions were evaluated using 2-by-2 ANOVA. Findings: Significant interactions (P < 0.001) were identified for laxity symmetry, stiffness, compliance index and modified compliance index. Modified compliance index predicted anterior cruciate ligament deficiency with the highest sensitivity (93%) and specificity (100%). For a test performed on a single limb, modified compliance index demonstrated 98% sensitivity and 80% specificity. Interpretation: The modified compliance index is a highly sensitive and specific measure to diagnose anterior cruciate ligament deficiency, and may serve as a simple and accurate diagnostic tool for individuals without a healthy contralateral limb.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)830-836
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Biomechanics
Issue number8
StatePublished - Oct 2012


  • ACL
  • Knee arthrometer
  • Knee injury
  • Knee laxity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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