Inter-segmental coordination pattern in patients with anterior cruciate ligament deficiency during a single-step descent


Copyright © 2016 Nematollahi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Anterior cruciate ligament injury is a debilitating pathology which may alter lower limb coordination pattern in both intact and affected lower extremities during activities of daily living. Emerging evidence supports the notion that kinematic variables may not be a good indicator to differentiate patients with anterior cruciate ligament deficiency during step descent task. The aim of the present study was to examine alterations in kinematics as well as coordination patterns and coordination variability of both limbs of these patients during a single step descent task. Continuous relative phase technique was used to measure coordination pattern and coordination variability between a group of anterior cruciate ligament deficient (n = 23) and a healthy control group (n = 23). A third order polynomial Curve fitting was utilized to provide a curve that best fitted to the data points of coordination pattern and coordination variability of the healthy control group. This was considered as a reference to compare to that of patient group using nonlinear regression analysis. The results of the present study demonstrated an altered coordination pattern of the supporting shank-thigh and the stepping foot-shank couplings in anterior cruciate ligament deficient subjects. It was further noticed that there was an increased coordination variability in foot-shank and shankthigh couplings of both supporting and stepping legs. There was no significant difference in the hip, knee and ankle joints kinematics in either side of these patients. Anterior cruciate ligament deficient individuals showed altered strategies in both intact and affected legs, with increased coordination variability. Kinematic data did not indicate any significant difference between the two groups. It could be concluded that more sophisticated dynamic approach such as continuous relative phase would uncover discrepancies between the healthy and anterior cruciate ligament deficient individuals.