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Effect of anterior cruciate ligament rupture on physical activity, sports participation, patient-reported health outcomes, and physical function in young female athletes

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journal contribution
posted on 01.06.2021, 04:40 by Allison Ezzat, M Brussoni, LC Mâsse, CA Emery
Background: Return to sports (RTS) is frequently considered an indicator of successful recovery after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR). However, despite the well-recognized health benefits of physical activity (PA), little is known about objectively measured PA in the 1 to 2 years after ACLR. Given that young female athletes have a high prevalence of ACLR and lower RTS rates as compared with their male counterparts, an in-depth examination of PA in this subgroup is warranted. Hypothesis: We hypothesized that female youth and young adults who have had ACLR in the previous 1 to 2 years would have less moderate or vigorous PA (MVPA) compared with healthy matched controls. We also hypothesized that the ACLR group would report lower levels of sports participation, patient-reported health outcomes, and physical function. Study Design: Cohort study; Level of evidence, 3. Methods: Participants included 51 female athletes with primary unilateral ACLR for a sports-related injury in the previous 1 to 2 years and 51 age- and sports-matched controls. Outcomes included objectively measured PA (GT3X accelerometers), previous and current sports participation and RTS, body mass index, Knee injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (KOOS), triple single-leg hop, and one-leg rise. Mean within-pair differences with 95% CIs were used to assess differences between groups across all outcomes. Multivariable linear regression (clustered by pair) was used to examine whether the ACLR group had less MVPA than did the age- and sports-matched control group, adjusting for total wear time, age, time since injury, and body mass index. Results: Median age was 17.8 years (range, 14.6-22.6 years). There was no significant difference between groups in MVPA. However, the injury group had fewer mean minutes per day of vigorous PA (–1.22; 95% CI, −2.40 to −0.04), poorer KOOS values on all subscales, and shorter triple single-leg hop distance. In the injury group, 28 (55%) returned to sports, including 14 (27.5%) who returned at preinjury performance level. Across both groups, over one-third changed their most important sport, shifting toward an individual-based sport. Conclusion: At 1 to 2 years after ACLR, female athletes demonstrated no differences in combined MVPA and only a very small reduction in vigorous PA, yet they had higher levels of self-reported knee pain and symptoms, reduced knee function in sports, lower quality of life, and poorer objective knee function compared with matched controls.


Publication Date



American Journal of Sports Medicine






10p. (p. 1460-1469)





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