Cutting maneuvers can be executed at a range of angles and speeds, and these whole-body task descriptors are closely associated with lower-limb mechanical loading. Asymmetries in angle and speed when changing direction off the operated and nonoperated limbs after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction may therefore influence the interpretation of interlimb differences in joint-level biomechanical parameters. The authors hypothesized that athletes would reduce center-of-mass heading angle deflection and body rotation during the change-of-direction stance phase when cutting from the operated limb, and would compensate for this by orienting their center-of-mass trajectory more toward the new intended direction of travel prior to touchdown. A total of 144 male athletes 8 to 10 months after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction performed a maximum-effort sidestep cutting maneuver while kinematic, kinetic, and ground reaction force data were recorded. Peak ground reaction force and knee joint moments were lower when cutting from the operated limb. Center-of-mass heading angle deflection during stance phase was reduced for cuts performed from the operated limb and was negatively correlated with heading angle at touchdown. Between-limb differences in body orientation and horizontal velocity at touchdown were also observed. These systematic asymmetries in cut execution may require consideration when interpreting joint-level interlimb asymmetries after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction and are suggestive of the use of anticipatory control to co-optimize task achievement and mechanical loading.
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