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.