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Maximal Voluntary Contraction (MVC) Testing in Patient with Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Injury or Surgical Reconstruction
A study is currently being conducted at the University of Delaware that will improve quadriceps muscle strength testing in patients with ACL injury or ACL reconstruction. The results of this study will help clinicians quantify quadriceps muscle strength when patients have difficulty achieving a maximal contraction, allowing critical decisions regarding rehabilitation progression to be made without repetitive testing.

In order to qualify, subjects must be between the ages of 18-35 years and have either an ACL tear or have had an ACL reconstruction. Subjects are not eligible to participate if both legs have ligament injuries. Subjects with an ACL injury are tested when swelling has resolved and knee motion has been restored. Subjects with an ACL reconstruction can be tested at any or all of the following intervals: 4 weeks, 6-8 weeks and 12 weeks after surgery. 

Testing is first performed on the injured side. Subjects will be seated with their thigh and pelvis stabilized, with the knee bent to 90°. Subjects will be asked to kick with a maximal effort into a stationary load cell. During the contraction, a short burst of electrical stimulation will be delivered to the muscle. If the test is determined to be acceptable, the subject will be given a 5 minute rest. The test will then be repeated at 25%, 50% and 75% of the maximal force elicited in the initial test. Each test will be followed by a 5 minute rest. When testing is completed on the injured side, the same procedure will be repeated on the uninjured side.

Referral by a physician is not required for participation in the study. Although the testing protocol is considered safe, there is the potential from muscle soreness after testing, skin irritation from the electrical stimulation electrodes or burn from the electrical current. 

If you are interested in participating in this study, please contact Terri Chmielewski at (302) 831-4646

053 McKinly Laboratory | University of Delaware | Newark, DE 19716 | phone 302-831-8893 | fax 302-831-4468
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last edited June, 2000