Osteoarthritis action alliance consensus opinion - best practice features of anterior cruciate ligament and lower limb injury prevention programs

World J Orthop. 2017 Sep 18;8(9):726-734. doi: 10.5312/wjo.v8.i9.726.


Aim: To identify best practice features of an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and lower limb injury prevention programs (IPPs) to reduce osteoarthritis (OA).

Methods: This consensus statement started with us performing a systematic literature search for all relevant articles from 1960 through January 2017 in PubMed, Web of Science and CINAHL. The search strategy combined the Medical Subject Heading (MeSH) and keywords for terms: (1) ACL OR "knee injury" OR "anterior cruciate ligament"; (2) "prevention and control" OR "risk reduction" OR "injury prevention" OR "neuromuscular training"; and (3) meta-analysis OR "systematic review" OR "cohort study" OR randomized. We found 166 different titles. The abstracts were reviewed for pertinent papers. The papers were reviewed by at least two authors and consensus of best practice for IPP to prevent OA was obtained by conference calls and e-mail discussions. All authors participated in the discussion.

Results: The best practice features of an IPP have the following six components: (1) lower extremity and core strengthening; (2) plyometrics; (3) continual feedback to athletes regarding proper technique; (4) sufficient dosage; (5) minimal-to-no additional equipment; and (6) balance training to help prevent injuries. Exercises focused on preventing ankle sprains, hamstring injuries and lateral trunk movements are important. Plyometric exercises should focus on correcting knee valgus movement. Exercises should focus on optimizing the hamstring to quadriceps strength ratio. In order for IPP to be successful, there should be increased education and verbal feedback along with increased athletic compliance. Additional equipment is not necessary. Balance training alone does not significantly reduce injuries, but is beneficial with other exercises. Not enough evidence to recommend stretching and agility exercises, with no ill effects identified. Therefore, we suggest making these optional features.

Conclusion: Best practice features for ACL and lower limb IPPs to help prevent OA contain six key components along with two optional.

Keywords: Anterior cruciate ligament; Injury prevention program; Knee injury; Lower limb.