Passing return to sports tests after ACL reconstruction is associated with greater likelihood for return to sport but fail to identify second injury risk

Wouter Welling, Anne Benjaminse, Koen Lemmink, Alli Gokeler

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BACKGROUND: A limited number of patients return to sport (RTS) after an anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR) and patients who RTS have a relatively high risk for second ACL injury. The purpose of the current study was to compare the results of a test battery between patients who returned to the pre-injury level of sport (RTS group) and patients who did not (NO-RTS group). It was hypothesized that the RTS group showed better test results.

METHODS: Sixty-four patients (age 27.8 ± 8.8 years) were included. The results of a multicomponent test battery (jump-landing task assessed with the Landing Error Scoring System (LESS), three hop tests, isokinetic strength test for quadriceps and hamstring) were compared between groups with a 2 × 2 ANOVA.

RESULTS: The RTS group showed a significantly lower LESS score (p = 0.010), significantly higher absolute scores on hop tests with both legs (injured leg: single leg hop test p = 0.013, triple leg hop test p = 0.024, side hop test p = 0.021; non-injured leg: single leg hop test p = 0.011, triple leg hop test p = 0.023, side hop test p = 0.032) and significantly greater hamstring strength in the injured leg (p = 0.009 at 60°/s, p = 0.012 at 180°/s and p = 0.013 at 300°/s). No differences in test results were identified between patients who sustained a second ACL injury and patients who did not.

CONCLUSION: Patients after ACLR with better jump-landing patterns, hop performance and greater hamstring strength have greater likelihood for RTS. However, our findings show that RTS criteria fail to identify patients who are at risk for a second ACL injury.

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe knee
Early online date1 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020



  • sports
  • rehabilitation

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