Multiplanar Loading of the Knee and Its Influence on Anterior Cruciate Ligament and Medial Collateral Ligament Strain During Simulated Landings and Noncontact Tears

Nathaniel A. Bates, Nathan D. Schilaty, Christopher V. Nagelli, Aaron J. Krych, Timothy E. Hewett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Background: Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears and concomitant medial collateral ligament (MCL) injuries are known to occur during dynamic athletic tasks that place combinatorial frontal and transverse plane loads on the knee. A mechanical impact simulator that produces clinical presentation of ACL injury allows for the quantification of individual loading contributors leading to ACL failure. Purpose/Hypothesis: The objective was to delineate the relationship between knee abduction moment, anterior tibial shear, and internal tibial rotation applied at the knee and ACL strain during physiologically defined simulations of impact at a knee flexion angle representative of initial contact landing from a jump. The hypothesis tested was that before ACL failure, abduction moment would induce greater change in ACL strain during landing than either anterior shear or internal rotation. Study Design: Controlled laboratory study. Methods: Nineteen cadaveric specimens were subjected to simulated landings in the mechanical impact simulator. During simulations, external knee abduction moment, internal tibial rotation moment, and anterior tibial shear loads were derived from a previously analyzed in vivo cohort and applied to the knee in varying magnitudes with respect to injury risk classification. Implanted strain gauges were used to track knee ligament displacement throughout simulation. Kruskal-Wallis tests were used to assess strain differences among loading factors, with Wilcoxon each pair post hoc tests used to assess differences of magnitude within each loading. Results: Each loading factor significantly increased ACL strain (P <.005). Within factors, the high-risk magnitude of each factor significantly increased ACL strain relative to the baseline condition (P≤.002). However, relative to knee abduction moment specifically, ACL strain increased with each increased risk magnitude (P≤.015). Conclusion: Increased risk levels of each load factor contributed to increased levels of ACL strain during a simulated jump landing. The behavior of increased strain between levels of increased risk loading was most prevalent for changes in knee abduction moment. This behavior was observed in the ACL and MCL. Clinical Relevance: Knee abduction moment may be the predominant precursor to ACL injury and concomitant MCL injury. As knee abduction occurs within the frontal plane, primary preventative focus should incorporate reduction of frontal plane knee loading in landing and cutting tasks, but secondary reduction of transverse plane loading could further increase intervention efficacy. Constraint of motion in these planes should restrict peak ACL strain magnitudes during athletic performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1844-1853
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number8
StatePublished - Jul 1 2019


  • anterior cruciate ligament
  • biomechanics
  • impact simulation
  • knee
  • landing
  • sports injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Multiplanar Loading of the Knee and Its Influence on Anterior Cruciate Ligament and Medial Collateral Ligament Strain During Simulated Landings and Noncontact Tears'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this