February 2017

Long after return to play, ACL injury takes toll on perceived knee function

In the moment: Sports medicine

By Jordana Bieze Foster

Perceived knee function is poorer in athletes who successfully return to play after an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury than in their uninjured counterparts, despite no strength or balance differences between the groups, according to research from Norway.

Investigators from the Oslo Sports Trauma Research Center analyzed 858 elite handball and soccer players; 80 had sustained an ACL injury one to six years previously (mean 3.5 ± 2.5 years).

Quadriceps and hamstrings strength and dynamic balance did not differ significantly between ACL-injured legs and uninjured legs for the 858 athletes overall. However, quadriceps and hamstring strength were significantly lower and knee laxity was significantly greater for the ACL-injured limbs than the contralateral limbs of the same players. Those asymmetries may help explain why perceived knee function, based on the Knee injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (KOOS), was significantly lower for ACL-injured knees than for the knees of uninjured players.

The findings were epublished in January by the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sport.


Myklebust G, Bahr R, Nilstad A, Steffen K. Knee function among elite handball and football players 1 to 6 years after anterior cruciate ligament injury. Scand J Med Sci Sport 2017 Jan 20. [Epub ahead of print]

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