2001 Volume 44 Issue 2 Pages 276-281
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of cyclic loading, which produced the condition of ACLs during sports activities, on tensile properties of femur-ACL-tibia complexes (FATCs). Paired FATCs of 40 New Zealand white rabbits were tested on a materials testing machine. One specimen of each pair was designated as a control and loaded until failure. The contralateral specimen was loaded cyclically (1.4 Hz, 1 hr.) with 20%, 30%, 40%, or 50% of ultimate tensile strength (UTS) of the control and then loaded until failure. The UTS and mode of failure were recorded after each test. Five specimens ruptured during cyclic loading in the 50% group. In the 40% group, the mean value of UTS of cycled specimens was significantly lower than that of controls. There was no statistically significant difference in UTS values between control and cycled specimens in the 20% and 30% groups. Cycled specimens had a significantly higher incidence of substance failure than controls. Our results demonstrated that FATCs have the strength to withstand cyclic loading within normal sports activity levels. However, FACTs can be damaged by cyclic loading under strenuous sports activity levels. We speculate that cyclic loading makes the ACL substance weaker than the insertion site.