Functional Testing Differences in Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction Patients Released Versus Not Released to Return to Sport.
BACKGROUND:No standardized return-to-activity or sport guidelines currently exist after anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction. Isokinetic testing and unilateral hop testing, which have construct validity, are often used to make the determination of when a patient is ready to return to sport. Neither of these measures has been reported to be predictive of subsequent injuries. PURPOSE:To compare the performance on 2 functional tests of ACL reconstruction patients released to return to activity versus those who have not been released based on clinical impairment measures. STUDY DESIGN:Cohort study; Level of evidence, 3. METHODS:A total of 98 patients were examined by the treating orthopaedic surgeon 6 months after ACL reconstruction for traditional impairment measures, including swelling, range of motion, strength, and graft stability. After this examination, all subjects completed the functional testing, consisting of the Functional Movement Screen (FMS) and the Lower Quarter Y Balance Test (YBT-LQ), by an experienced tester who was blinded to the results of the clinical examination. On the basis of the clinical examination, all patients were grouped as being ready to return to sport or not being ready. Performance on the functional tests, as measured by overall performance and side-to-side asymmetry, was compared between the 2 groups using independent-samples t tests (P < .05). RESULTS:No difference existed between the groups with regard to the descriptive characteristics, with the exception that the group not cleared was younger (21.0 ± 7.4 years) than the group that was cleared (25.6 ± 13.2 years). Performance on the YBT-LQ revealed that no differences existed between groups when examining reach symmetry for any of the reach directions. In addition, no differences were found between groups when looking at the average reach score normalized to limb length for either the surgical or nonsurgical leg. Patients in the cleared group exhibited a similar score on the FMS (12.7 ± 2.9) compared with the noncleared group (12.8 ± 2.7). Similarly, no differences were observed for the number of asymmetries; however, both groups averaged 1 asymmetry during the testing. CONCLUSION:Clinical impairment measures do not appear to be related to measured functional ability. Performance on both functional tests, the FMS and YBT-LQ, at 6 months would suggest that the typical patient in both groups would be at a greater risk of lower extremity injury, based on currently published research.
Mayer, SW; Queen, RM; Taylor, D; Moorman, CT; Toth, AP; Garrett, WE; Butler, RJ
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