Friday, September 30, 2011

When Should an Athlete Return to Sport After an ACL Surgery?

As a physical therapist I am asked this question many times as athletes are always anxious to get back to playing their sport after ACL reconstruction.  The answer to this question is becoming more and more important to patients, athletes, and coaches as an increasing amount of athletes are playing for high stakes such as scholarships.  The main problem that there is not one answer.  Most textbooks will suggest return to sport anywhere between 5 and 9 months after surgery.  These numbers don't make me too confinement in telling an athlete that they can begin to play their sport again.  Luckily a study recently published in June 2011 in the Journal of Sports Physical Therapy gives us evidence based tools to help determine correct time for return to sport.

The researchers tested athletes on 9 tests that would test a participant's strength and power, both important for return to sport.  There were 3 tests that were able to find side-to-side differences between involved and uninvolved knees.  The three tests found to be most specific were the single hop, the crossover hop, and the triple hop. The researchers concluded that "the surgically repaired leg should perform at least 90% as well as the uninjured leg before you return to sport."1 

Be sure to visit your local physical therapists at Hayashida and Associates Physical Therapy in order to get the latest evidence-based practice so that you or your athlete can return to their sport as soon as safely possible.