Prevention of Knee and Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries Through the Use of Neuromuscular and Proprioceptive Training: An Evidence-Based Review

J Athl Train. 2017 Dec;52(12):1171-1172. doi: 10.4085/1062-6050-52.12.21. Epub 2017 Nov 27.


Reference/Citation: Donnell-Fink LA, Klara K, Collins JE, et al. Effectiveness of knee injury and anterior cruciate ligament tear prevention programs: a meta-analysis. PLoS One. 2015;10(12)e0144063.

Clinical question: Is neuromuscular and proprioceptive training effective in preventing knee and anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries?

Data sources: The authors searched CINAHL, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, MEDLINE/EMBASE, PubMed, and Web of Science databases from 1996 through December 2014 and limited the results to peer-reviewed manuscripts published in English. Search terms for all databases were knee injury OR knee injuries; OR anterior cruciate ligament injury OR anterior cruciate ligament injuries; OR ACL injury OR ACL injuries; OR lower limb injury OR lower limb injuries AND prevention.

Study selection: Inclusion criteria were (1) English language, (2) published from 1996 through 2014, (3) the intervention used neuromuscular or proprioceptive training to prevent knee or ACL injuries, (4) human participants, (5) the incidence of knee or ACL injury was provided.

Data extraction: For the articles that met the inclusion criteria, 2 authors worked independently using the Jadad scale to extract the first author, year of publication, title, sport type, participant sex, participant age, country in which the study was conducted, number of participants in the control and intervention groups, intervention characteristics or components, and knee or ACL injury outcome.

Main results: A total of 24 studies with 1093 participants were included in this review. Intervention efficacy was determined from weighted incidence rate ratios. After the intervention of neuromuscular and proprioceptive training exercises, the incidence ratio (frequency of a disease or injury occurrence in a population over a specific time frame) was calculated at 0.731 (95% confidence interval = 0.614, 0.871) for knee injury and at 0.493 (95% confidence interval = 0.285, 0.854) for ACL injury. This indicated a link between neuromuscular and proprioceptive training programs and injury reduction. No significant correlation was present between more components added to training and a greater decrease in injury to either the knee or ACL.

Conclusions: Neuromuscular and proprioceptive training appeared to decrease the incidence of injury to the knee and specifically the ACL. However, no evidence suggested that a specific group of exercises was better than others.

Keywords: injury prevention; recurrence; traumatic injuries.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries / prevention & control*
  • Athletic Injuries / prevention & control*
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Proprioception*
  • Sports*