Ardern, C. L., Webster, K. E., Taylor, N. F., & Feller, J. A. (2010). Return to sport rate is less than might be anticipated following ACL reconstruction surgery. Presentation 768 at the 2010 Annual Meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland; June 2-5.

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This study determined the effect of ACL reconstruction surgery on post-operative return to sport participation. A systematic review was conducted of publications and electronic databases including Medline, Embase, SPORTDiscus, and CINAHL from the earliest possible entry to April 2009. Studies that reported the number of patients returning to sports participation following ACL reconstruction surgery were included. The results were combined using a proportion meta-analysis.

Studies (N = 48) evaluating 5770 participants were identified. Overall, 82.2% of participants had returned to some kind of sports participation, 63.3% had returned to their pre-injury level of participation, and 44.4% had returned to competitive sport at final follow-up. On the other hand, approximately 90% of participants achieved good post-operative knee function when assessed using measures such as knee laxity, thigh muscle strength and International Knee Documentation Committee knee evaluation form. Fear of re-injury was the most common reason cited for a post-operative reduction in or cessation of sports participation.

Implication. The relatively low rate of return to competitive sport raises the question whether ACL reconstruction surgery is viable for further sport participation. Psychological factors may warrant greater attention during the post-operative rehabilitation phase.

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