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Open Access Research article

The effect of short-duration sub-maximal cycling on balance in single-limb stance in patients with anterior cruciate ligament injury: a cross-sectional study

Eva Ageberg13*, David Roberts2, Eva Holmström3 and Thomas Fridén2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Rehabilitation, Lund University Hospital, Lasarettsgatan 13, SE-221 85 Lund, Sweden

2 Department of Orthopedics, Lund University Hospital, SE-221 85 Lund, Sweden

3 Department of Physical Therapy, Lund University, Lasarettsgatan 7, SE-221 85 Lund, Sweden

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BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2004, 5:44  doi:10.1186/1471-2474-5-44

Published: 17 November 2004

Abstract

Background

It has previously been shown that an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury may lead to impaired postural control, and that the ability to maintain postural control is decreased by fatigue in healthy subjects. To our knowledge, no studies have reported the effect of fatigue on postural control in subjects with ACL injury. This study was aimed at examining the effect of fatigue on balance in single-limb stance in subjects with ACL injury, and to compare the effects, and the ability to maintain balance, with that of a control group of uninjured subjects.

Methods

Thirty-six patients with unilateral, non-operated, non-acute ACL injury, and 24 uninjured subjects were examined with stabilometry before (pre-exercise) and immediately after (post-exercise) short-duration, sub-maximal cycling. In addition, the post-exercise measurements were compared, to evaluate the instantaneous ability to maintain balance and any possible recovery. The amplitude and average speed of center of pressure movements were registered in the frontal and sagittal planes. The paired t-test was used for the intra-group comparisons, and the independent t-test for the inter-group comparisons, with Bonferroni correction for multiple comparisons.

Results

No differences were found in the effects of exercise between the patients and the controls. Analysis of the post-exercise measurements revealed greater effects or a tendency towards greater effects on the injured leg than in the control group. The average speed was lower among the patients than in the control group.

Conclusions

The results of the present study showed no differences in the effects of exercise between the patients and the controls. However, the patients seemed to react differently regarding ability to maintain balance in single-limb stance directly after exercise than the control group. The lower average speed among the patients may be an expression of different neuromuscular adaptive strategies than in uninjured subjects.