Noncontact Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries: Mechanisms and Risk Factors

J Am Acad Orthop Surg, Vol 18, No 9, September 2010

Barry P. Boden, MD, Frances T. Sheehan, PhD, Joseph S. Torg, MD and Timothy E. Hewett, PhD Significant advances have recently been made in understanding the mechanisms involved in noncontact anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury. Most ACL injuries involve minimal to no contact. Female athletes sustain a two- to eightfold greater rate of injury than do their male counterparts. Recent videotape analyses demonstrate significant differences in average leg and trunk positions during injury compared with control subjects. These findings as well as those of cadaveric and MRI studies indicate that axial compressive forces are a critical component in noncontact ACL injury. A complete understanding of the forces and risk factors associated with noncontact ACL injury should lead to the development of improved preventive strategies for this devastating injury.

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