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Sports Health. 2019 Jul/Aug;11(4):324-331. doi: 10.1177/1941738119849070. Epub 2019 Jun 7.

Strength and Function Across Maturational Levels in Young Athletes at the Time of Return to Sport After ACL Reconstruction.

Author information

1
Department of Physical Therapy and Center for Exercise Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama.
2
Doctor of Physical Therapy Program, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio.
3
Division of Sports Medicine, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio.
4
Biomechanics Laboratories and Sports Medicine, Departments of Orthopedic Surgery, Physical Medicine, and Physiology and Biomedical Engineering, Mayo Clinic, Rochester and Minneapolis, Minnesota.
5
Division of Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio.
6
Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio.
7
Division of Physical Therapy, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio.
8
Sports Medicine Research Institute, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Columbus, Ohio.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The impact of maturation on lower extremity strength and function after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR) may help guide future studies of age-specific rehabilitation.

HYPOTHESIS:

Pediatric ACLR patients would demonstrate higher thigh strength symmetry and knee-related function at return to sport (RTS) compared with adolescent and young adult participants who underwent traditional ACLR.

STUDY DESIGN:

Prospective cohort study.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:

Level 2.

METHODS:

A total of 144 young athletes at the time of RTS clearance post-ACLR were classified into 3 maturational groups (pediatric, n = 16 with physeal-sparing ACLR [mean age = 12.3 years; range = 9.2-14.6 years]; adolescent, n = 113 [mean age = 16.5 years; range = 14.1-19.8 years]; young adult, n = 15 [mean age = 22.0 years; range = 20.5-24.9 years]). Quadriceps and hamstring strength were measured using an electromechanical dynamometer. Knee-related function was measured using the International Knee Documentation Committee (IKDC) subjective form and single-leg hop tests. The Limb symmetry Index (LSI) was used in calculations for hop and strength tests. Group differences were compared with Kruskal-Wallis tests and Mann-Whitney U post hoc tests. Proportions of participants meeting literature-recommended RTS criterion cutoffs were compared among the groups using chi-square tests.

RESULTS:

The pediatric group demonstrated higher quadriceps LSI (P = 0.01), IKDC scores (P < 0.01), single-hop LSI (P < 0.01), and crossover-hop LSI (P = 0.02) compared with the young adult group. In addition, the pediatric group demonstrated higher IKDC scores (P < 0.01) and single-hop LSI (P = 0.02) compared with the adolescent group. The adolescent group demonstrated higher IKDC scores (P < 0.01), single-hop LSI (P = 0.02), and crossover-hop LSI (P = 0.03) compared with the young adult group. The proportions of participants meeting all RTS criterion cutoffs were highest in the pediatric group and lowest in the young adult group (P = 0.03).

CONCLUSION:

Young athletes at RTS clearance after pediatric ACLR demonstrated higher quadriceps strength symmetry and knee-related function than adolescents and young adults after traditional ACLR.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE:

These findings demonstrate the need for further study regarding the impact of these group differences on longitudinal outcomes after ACLR, including successful RTS and risk of second ACL injury.

KEYWORDS:

ACL reconstruction; maturation; outcomes

PMID:
31173697
PMCID:
PMC6600581
[Available on 2020-06-07]
DOI:
10.1177/1941738119849070
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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