Performance: Bridging the Gap After ACL Surgery


Purpose of Review

The purpose of this paper is to identify strategies for a successful transition to sports in patients following rehabilitation for ACL reconstruction surgery (ACLR).

Recent Findings

Recent research continues to demonstrate a relatively low rate of return to previous level of play among athletes following ACLR combined with a significant risk of injury to either the ipsi or the contralateral ACL. Recent research also demonstrates a growing use of a varied battery of assessments to determine readiness to return to sport as well as a lack of consensus on the ideal rehabilitation program, the criteria for clearance for return to play (both in time from surgery and functional milestones), and the nature of a conditioning program designed specifically for transitioning the cleared athlete back to competition.


Due to the lack of consensus and consistency regarding rehabilitation protocols and criteria for clearance to play after ACLR, deficits in strength, neuromuscular control, and psychological readiness may exist in “cleared” athletes. These deficits may not only negatively impact sports performance but also raise the risk of re-injury. Programs designed to successfully return an athlete to previous level of play should include not only strength and conditioning aimed at restoring fitness that was compromised as a result of the injury but also include attention to psychological readiness and address deficits in neuromuscular control. Problems that exist following ACLR cannot be solved by one professional; successful rehabilitation and return to play require a coordinated effort among the surgeon, physical therapist, athletic trainer, and fitness professional. Future research is needed to determine the optimal strategy to restore the neuromuscular control, functional strength, and psychological readiness necessary for a successful return to competition following ACLR.


ACL ACLR Return-to-sport Sports performance Injury prevention Re-injury 

Autor / Fonte:Polly de Mille, Jamie Osmak Current Reviews in Musculoskeletal Medicine 2017 July 3