Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction-Not Exactly a One-Way Ticket Back to the Preinjury Level: A Review of Contextual Factors Affecting Return to Sport After Surgery.

Research paper by Clare L CL Ardern

Indexed on: 02 Jul '15Published on: 02 Jul '15Published in: Sports health


A recently updated meta-analysis of return-to-sport rates after anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction demonstrated that 65% of athletes returned to their preinjury level of sport after surgery. The aim of this clinical review was to explore contextual factors associated with returning or not returning to the preinjury level after ACL reconstruction.Data were obtained from peer-reviewed literature via a search of the electronic databases Medline, Embase, CINAHL, and SPORTDiscus from database inception to January 2015. The keywords anterior cruciate ligament and return to sport were used. Additional literature was identified via hand-searching of the reference lists of relevant articles and the ePublication lists of key scientific journals. Random effects meta-analyses were used to pool the results of modifiable contextual factors and to examine their association with returning or not returning to the preinjury level of sport after surgery.Clinical review.Level 2.Lower fear of reinjury (standardized mean difference, 0.7), greater psychological readiness to return to sport (standardized mean difference, 1.0), and a more positive subjective assessment of knee function (standardized mean difference, 0.9) favored return to the preinjury level after surgery.Returning or not returning to the preinjury level after ACL reconstruction is complex and multifactorial. Screening for potentially modifiable contextual factors, particularly psychological factors, early after ACL injury may help clinicians identify athletes who could be at risk of not returning to the preinjury level of sport and institute interventions that could improve returning to sport.