Int J Sports Med
DOI: 10.1055/a-1273-8269
Training & Testing

Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstructed Female Athletes Exhibit Relative Muscle Dysfunction After Return to Sport

1  School of Kinesiology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
Donald R. Dengel
1  School of Kinesiology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
John S. Fitzgerald
2  Department of Education, Health and Behavior Studies, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks
Bradley J. Nelson
3  Department of Orthopedic Surgery, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis
Tyler A. Bosch
4  College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
› Author Affiliations
Funding: This work was supported by funding from NIH/NIAMS T32 AR050938 “Musculoskeletal Training Grant” (CJRP) and from the North American Society for Pediatric Exercise Medicine (NASPEM) “Marco Cabrera Student Research Award” (CJRP).


We sought to examine the relationship between upper-leg compartmental lean mass, muscle-specific strength, and explosive strength following anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction. Twleve adolescent female athletes with prior anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction were individually-matched by age (16.4±0.9 vs. 16.4±1.0 yrs.), body mass index (23.2±2.1 vs. 23.2±2.7 kg/m2), and sport to 12 female athlete controls. One total-body and 2 lateral-leg dual X-ray absorptiometry scans measured total/segmental body composition. Isokinetic dynamometry measured knee extensor/flexor peak torque. Squat jumps on force platforms measured bilateral peak vertical ground reaction force. Paired t-tests assessed lean mass, peak torque, and force between previously-injured athletes’ legs and between previously-injured and control athletes’ legs. Previously-injured athletes’ involved vs. non-involved leg demonstrated lower total (7.13±0.75 vs. 7.43±0.99 kg; p<0.01) and anterior (1.49±0.27 vs. 1.61±0.23 kg; p<0.01) and posterior (1.90±0.19 vs. 2.02±0.21 kg; p=0.04) upper-leg lean mass. Involved leg peak torque (1.36±0.31; 1.06±0.27; 0.97±0.19 Nm/kg) was lower vs. non-involved leg (1.71±0.36; 1.24±0.33; 1.04±0.15 Nm/kg; p<0.01−0.02) for extension at 60 and 120°/sec and flexion at 60°/sec and vs. controls’ ‘matched’ leg (1.77±0.40 Nm/kg; p=0.01) for extension at 60°/sec. Involved leg force (296±45N) was lower vs. non-involved leg (375±55N; p<0.01) and vs. controls’ ‘matched’ leg (372±88N; p=0.02). One-year post-anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction, adolescent female athletes’ involved leg demonstrated relative muscle dysfunction.

Publication History

Received: 05 April 2020

Accepted: 18 September 2020

Publication Date:
23 October 2020 (online)

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