Journal of Orthopedic Research Publishes ACL Reconstruction Research by Dr. Zarzycki

By Ryan Hiemenz | June 27, 2024

Associate Professor Dr. Ryan Zarzycki of Arcadia’s Department of Physical Therapy published a research article titled “Sex Differences In Corticospinal Excitability And Quadriceps Performance After Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction” in the Journal of Orthopedic Research.

Dr. Zarzycki and his co-authors studied the lasting effects of anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR) on quadriceps function and the associated neurological impacts, particularly highlighting significant differences between sexes. The research focused on the reduced nervous system drive, or corticospinal excitability (CSE), to the quadriceps following  ACLR, and how this varies between males and females. Dr. Zarzycki and his co-authors measured quadriceps performance using peak torque (PT) and the rate of torque development (RTD) at different intervals, alongside CSE using transcranial magnetic stimulation, which is a procedure that uses magnetic pulses to stimulate nerve cells in the brain.

Key findings include:

  • Men post-ACLR exhibited higher CSE slopes, indicating greater nervous system drive, compared to women post-ACLR.
  • Women post-ACLR showed worse quadriceps PT and slower RTD100 and RTD200 on the surgical limb compared to both control men and women.
  • The higher CSE in men post-ACLR suggests an adaptive neurological change, potentially beneficial for recovery.

The study suggests that these sex differences in CSE and quadriceps function may necessitate targeted rehabilitation strategies, with a particular focus on improving cortical drive in women post-ACLR to enhance recovery outcomes and reduce the risk of secondary injuries and osteoarthritis development.

Click here to read the full article.