Spatiotemporal lower-limb asymmetries during stair descent in athletes following anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction

Dario G. Liebermann, Jonas L. Markström, Jonas Selling, Charlotte K. Häger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: This study evaluated motor control recovery at different times following anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR) by investigating lower-limb spatiotemporal symmetry during stair descent performances. Methods: We used a cross-sectional design to compare asymptomatic athletes (Controls, n = 18) with a group of people with ACLR (n = 49) divided into three time-from-ACLR subgroups (Early: <6 months, n = 17; Mid: 6–18 months, n = 16; Late: ≥18 months, n = 16). We evaluated: “temporal symmetry” during the stance subphases (single-support, first and second double-support) and “spatial symmetry” for hip-knee-ankle intra-joint angular displacements during the stance phase using a dissimilarity index applied on superimposed 3D phase plots. Results: We found significant between-group differences in temporal variables (p ≤ 0.001). Compared to Controls, both Early and Mid (p ≤ 0.05) showed asymmetry in the first double-support time (longer for their injured vs. non-injured leg), while Early generally also showed longer durations in all other phases, regardless of stepping leg. No statistically significant differences were found for spatial intra-joint symmetry between groups. Conclusion: Temporal but not spatial asymmetry in stair descent is often present early after ACLR; it may remain for up to 18 months and may underlie subtle intra- and inter-joint compensations. Spatial asymmetry may need further exploration.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102868
JournalJournal of Electromyography and Kinesiology
StatePublished - Apr 2024


  • ACL injury
  • Procrustes analysis
  • Return-to-sport
  • Spatiotemporal features
  • Stair descent

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Biophysics
  • Clinical Neurology


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