Journal article

A new ambulatory system for comparative evaluation of the three-dimensional knee kinematics, applied to anterior cruciate ligament injuries

The aim of this study was to develop an ambulatory system for the three-dimensional (3D) knee kinematics evaluation, which can be used outside a laboratory during long-term monitoring. In order to show the efficacy of this ambulatory system, knee function was analysed using this system, after an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) lesion, and after reconstructive surgery. The proposed system was composed of two 3D gyroscopes, fixed on the shank and on the thigh, and a portable data logger for signal recording. The measured parameters were the 3D mean range of motion (ROM) and the healthy knee was used as control. The precision of this system was first assessed using an ultrasound reference system. The repeatability was also estimated. A clinical study was then performed on five unilateral ACL-deficient men (range: 19-36 years) prior to, and a year after the surgery. The patients were evaluated with the IKDC score and the kinematics measurements were carried out on a 30 m walking trial. The precision in comparison with the reference system was 4.4 degrees, 2.7 degrees and 4.2 degrees for flexion-extension, internal-external rotation, and abduction-adduction, respectively. The repeatability of the results for the three directions was 0.8 degrees, 0.7 degrees and 1.8 degrees. The averaged ROM of the five patients' healthy knee were 70.1 degrees [standard deviation (SD) 5.8 degrees], 24.0 degrees (SD 3.0 degrees) and 12.0 degrees (SD 6.3 degrees) for flexion-extension, internal-external rotation and abduction-adduction before surgery, and 76.5 degrees (SD 4.1 degrees), 21.7 degrees (SD 4.9 degrees) and 10.2 degrees (SD 4.6 degrees) 1 year following the reconstruction. The results for the pathologic knee were 64.5 degrees (SD 6.9 degrees), 20.6 degrees (SD 4.0 degrees) and 19.7 degrees (8.2 degrees) during the first evaluation, and 72.3 degrees (SD 2.4 degrees), 25.8 degrees (SD 6.4 degrees) and 12.4 degrees (SD 2.3 degrees) during the second one. The performance of the system enabled us to detect knee function modifications in the sagittal and transverse plane. Prior to the reconstruction, the ROM of the injured knee was lower in flexion-extension and internal-external rotation in comparison with the controlateral knee. One year after the surgery, four patients were classified normal (A) and one almost normal (B), according to the IKDC score, and changes in the kinematics of the five patients remained: lower flexion-extension ROM and higher internal-external rotation ROM in comparison with the controlateral knee. The 3D kinematics was changed after an ACL lesion and remained altered one year after the surgery.


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