ACL: Are You Ready To Return to Sport?

acl-painIn this fifth and last installment of our ACL Series, we will discuss a little about the later stages of rehabilitation and how we determine when an individual is ready to return to sport. We’ll also be discussing some screens and assessments PT’s can use to objectively measure and gauge risk of injury.
While there are many factors that go in to determining whether an individual is ready for higher level activity and returning to sport, two of the most important factors, in my opinion, are limb symmetry and movement mechanics.
1) A recent article published by the British Journal of Sports Medicine, found six return to sport criteria that correlated with a four times greater risk of sustaining an ACL graft rupture if all weren’t met. Of the six criteria listed, three involved comparing the ability of the involved leg to the uninvolved leg. The goal is to have greater than 90% symmetry between both legs.
Some tests that may be used to measure the symmetry between both legs would be the single hop, triple hop, and/or triple crossover hop tests.
Single Hop
Triple Hop
Cross Over Hop Test
2) Mechanics with higher level activities like running, jumping, cutting, pivoting, and others are important to assess prior to discharge and return to sport. As discussed in our second post in the ACL series, Are You At Risk?, improper movement mechanics is a major culprit for those who suffer a non-contact ACL injuries.

Prior to discharge from therapy and return to sport there are screens that can and should be performed to screen/assess, not only the knee, but the whole individual and how he or she moves. One screen that is popular and has been supported with research and practice is the Functional Movement Screen (FMS).
Following discharge from therapy, an individual should continue with a well-planned out and supervised strength and conditioning program, especially if the individual is looking to return to higher level of sport.
We hope this ACL Series has been helpful and has given everyone a look into and some guidance into the ACL Rehabilitation process. For any further questions, please feel free to contact us.

Posted in: Knee

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