Extended reality in musculoskeletal rehabilitation and injury prevention - A systematic review

Phys Ther Sport. 2022 May;55:229-240. doi: 10.1016/j.ptsp.2022.04.011. Epub 2022 May 4.


Objective: Unlike in neurological patient populations, the effects of Extended Reality within the context of sports medicine have rarely been studied. This systematic review was conducted to investigate the value of Extended Realty-assisted rehabilitation and injury prevention strategies on injury rehabilitation and prevention outcomes.

Methods: PubMed and Web of Science databases were consulted. The search strategy consisted of the terms Virtual Reality (Intervention), rehabilitation and injury prevention (Outcome) and healthy athletes or athletes with a musculoskeletal sports injury (Population). After eligibility and Risk of Bias screening, ten articles were included. Risk of Bias analysis resulted in a level of evidence varying between C (three articles), B (six articles) and A2 (one article) scores.

Results: Extended Reality was found to provide an added value for both sports injury prevention and rehabilitation outcomes. It particularly provides clinicians with the opportunity to address the underlying biomechanical risk profile for common sports injuries, allowing the athletes to train protective movement patterns more effectively.

Conclusion: More large-scale high-quality prospective research is needed in order to determine whether Extended Reality-assisted therapy is superior to conventional therapy in sports rehabilitation and injury prevention circles with strong conclusive evidence.

Keywords: Athletes; Augmented reality; Musculoskeletal; Prevention; Rehabilitation -; Sports injury; Virtual reality.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Athletes
  • Athletic Injuries* / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sports Medicine*
  • Sports*