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Keywords:

  • muscle volume;
  • torque;
  • anterior cruciate ligament;
  • quadriceps femoris weakness

The purpose of this study was to evaluate motor unit recruitment in the quadriceps femoris (QF) after anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) rupture and repair. Subjects included 24 patients at ≥18 months after ACL reconstruction and 22 control subjects with no history of knee injury. A series of cross-sectional magnetic resonance images were obtained to compare the QF of patients' injured side with that of their uninjured sides and that of uninjured control subjects. Muscle torque per muscle volume was calculated as isokinetic peak torque divided by QF muscle volume (cm3). The mean muscle torque per unit volume of the injured side of patients was not significantly different from that of the uninjured side or control subjects (one-way ANOVA) Results of the present study were contrary to the results of a previous study that evaluated patients at ≤12 months after ACL reconstruction. The present study found that high-threshold motor unit recruitment was restored at ≥18 months after ACL reconstruction. Thus, clinicians must develop techniques that increase the recruitment of high-threshold motor units in the QF from the period immediately after the injury until approximately 18 months after ACL reconstruction.