Background: Neuromuscular training (NMT) has been shown to attenuate high-risk biomechanics in uninjured athletes. At the time that athletes return to sport after anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction (ACLR), they demonstrate hip biomechanical deficits associated with injury to the reconstructed knee versus the uninjured contralateral knee. Purpose: The primary purpose of the study was to examine whether an NMT program can improve single-leg drop (SLD) landing hip biomechanics for athletes after ACLR. Secondarily, we compared the posttraining SLD hip biomechanics of athletes after ACLR with a control group of athletes who also completed the NMT program. Study Design: Controlled laboratory study. Methods: A total of 18 ACLR and 10 uninjured athletes were recruited and completed a 12-session NMT program. A knee-specific questionnaire and biomechanics of an SLD task was evaluated for each athlete before and after NMT. Paired t tests were used to compare pre- and posttraining International Knee Documentation Committee (IKDC) scores. Repeated-measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) was performed to assess the main effects and interactions of testing session × limb for the ACLR athletes. A 2-way ANOVA was conducted to quantify the interactions and main effects of group × limb. Results: There was a significant increase (P =.03) in IKDC scores from pre- to posttraining. For the ACLR athletes, there was a significant session × limb interaction for hip external rotation moment (P =.02) and hip abduction angle (P =.013). Despite increases in hip external rotation moment, no significant changes from pre- to posttraining were observed for the involved limbs. No significant changes were observed for hip abduction angle of the involved limbs between training sessions. Significant main effects of session (P <.05) revealed that athletes landed with greater hip excursion, lower hip flexion moment, and lower ground-reaction force after training. The posttraining comparison between the ACLR and control groups found no significant group × limb interactions for any of the hip kinematic or kinetic variables. A significant main effect of group (P <.05) revealed that the ACLR athletes landed with greater hip flexion angle and hip external rotation moment. Conclusion: ACLR athletes demonstrated an improvement in SLD hip biomechanics and neuromuscular control after participating in an NMT program. Clinical Relevance: This evidence indicates a potential role for NMT to improve hip biomechanics during an SLD task so as to reduce ACL injury risk.
- anterior cruciate ligament
- hip biomechanics
- neuromuscular training
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine