Combined anterior and rotational knee laxity measurements improve the diagnosis of anterior cruciate ligament injuries

C. Mouton, D. Theisen, T. Meyer, H. Agostinis, C. Nührenbörger, D. Pape, R. Seil*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    16 Citations (Scopus)


    Purpose: This study analysed whether associating the side-to-side difference in displacement and the slope of the load–displacement curve of anterior and rotational knee laxity measurements would improve the instrumental diagnosis of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) ruptures and help to detect different types of ACL tears. Methods: Anterior and rotational knee laxity was measured in 128 patients with an arthroscopically confirmed ACL injury and 104 healthy controls. Side-to-side differences were determined for three variables in anterior laxity: anterior displacement at 200 N (ATD200), primary compliance from 30 to 50 N (PCA) and secondary compliance from 100 to 200 N (SCA). Furthermore, four variables in rotational laxity were considered: internal and external rotation at 5 N m (IR5/ER5) and compliance from 2 to 5 N m (CIR/CER). Receiver operating characteristic curves allowed to determine thresholds, specificities and sensitivities to detect ACL lesions, based on single variables considered and combinations thereof. Results: Sensitivity and specificity reached, respectively, 75 and 95 % for ATD200 (threshold: 1.2 mm) and 38 and 95 % for IR5 (threshold: 3.2°). If either two out of the three variables were positive for anterior laxity or both IR5 and CIR were positive, 81 % of patients were identified without a false positive. All patients for whom ATD200 was >3.7 mm, PCA > 48 μm/N or SCA > 17.5 µm/N had ACL remnants that were either totally resorbed or healed on the posterior cruciate ligament. Conclusion: Combined instrumented anterior and rotational knee laxity measurements have excellent diagnostic value for ACL injury, provided that several measurements be considered concomitantly. Level of evidence: Diagnostic study, Level III.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2859-2867
    Number of pages9
    JournalKnee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy
    Issue number10
    Publication statusPublished - 26 Oct 2015


    • Anterior cruciate ligament
    • Anterior knee laxity
    • Combined laxity measurements
    • Injury diagnosis
    • Rotational knee laxity


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