How does functionality proceed in ACL reconstructed subjects? Proceeding of functional performance from pre- to six months post-ACL reconstruction

Frieder Cornelius Krafft, Bernd Josef Stetter, Thorsten Stein, Andree Ellermann, Johannes Flechtenmacher, Christian Eberle, Stefan Sell, Wolfgang Potthast

Publication: Contribution to journalJournal articlesResearchpeer-review


This is the first study examining functionality of subjects with anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears and a subsequent reconstruction comprehensively by multiple test sessions from pre- to six months post-reconstruction. The purpose was to evaluate if a generally applied rehabilitation program restores functionality to levels of healthy controls. Subjects with unilateral tears of the ACL were compared to matched healthy controls throughout the rehabilitation. 20 recreational athletes were tested: T1 (preoperative), 6 weeks after tear; T2, 6 weeks, T3, 3 months, T4, 6 months post-reconstruction. At all test sessions, subjects self-evaluated their activity level with the Tegner activity score and their knee state with the Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score. Passive range of motion during knee flexion and extension and leg circumference were measured as functional clinical tests. Bilateral countermovement jumps, one-leg jumps for distance and isometric force tests in knee flexion and extension with 90° and 110° knee angle were conducted as functional performance tests. For determination of functionality, leg symmetry indices (LSIs) were calculated by dividing values of the injured by the uninjured leg. In the ACL group most LSIs decreased from T1 to T2, and increased from T2 and T3 to T4. LSIs of ACL subjects remained lower than LSIs of healthy controls at 6 months post-reconstruction in nearly all parameters. Self-evaluation of ACL subjects showed, additionally, that activity level was lower than the pre-injury level at 6 months post-reconstruction. Low LSIs and low self-evaluation indicate that knee joint functionality is not completely restored at 6 months post-reconstruction. The study shows that multiple comprehensive testing throughout the rehabilitation gives detailed images of the functional state. Therefore, the functional state of ACL reconstructed individuals should be evaluated comprehensively and continuously throughout the rehabilitation to detect persisting deficiencies detailed and adapt rehabilitation programs individually depending on the functionality.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0178430
JournalPloS one
Issue number5
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Research areas and keywords

  • Journal Article


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