Sport-specific outcomes after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction

Arthroscopy. 2011 Aug;27(8):1129-34. doi: 10.1016/j.arthro.2011.02.022. Epub 2011 Jun 12.


Purpose: Although anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction has been studied extensively in the literature, sport-specific outcomes have not been well-documented. The purpose of this systematic review was to assess sport-specific outcomes after ACL reconstruction in the literature.

Methods: We performed a systematic review of the literature to identify studies reporting sport-specific outcomes after primary ACL reconstruction. Included studies were required to have reported standardized outcomes after primary ACL reconstruction for a single sport or comparing between different sports.

Results: In total 8 studies conformed to all inclusion criteria: 2 Level II studies, 1 Level III study, and 5 Level IV case series. Only 1 study reported comparisons of standardized outcomes between different sports, whereas 7 studies reported standardized outcomes in a single sport. Return to activity was the most common sport-specific outcome reported and varied from 19% (soccer) to 100% (bicycling and rugby), although the methods of measuring this outcome differed.

Conclusions: Whereas return to activity after ACL reconstruction appears more likely for bicycling and jogging than for cutting and pivoting sports such as soccer and football, the literature on sport-specific outcomes from ACL reconstruction is limited with minimal data. Further studies are needed to report sport-specific outcomes and return to play after ACL reconstruction.

Level of evidence: Level IV, systematic review of Level II, III, and IV studies.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament / surgery
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries*
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction*
  • Athletic Injuries / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Recovery of Function
  • Rupture / surgery
  • Sports
  • Treatment Outcome