Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury: Return to Play, Function and Long-Term Considerations

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Anterior cruciate ligament tears are common and affect young individuals who participate in jumping and pivoting sports. After injury many individuals undergo ligament reconstruction (ACLR) but do not return to play, suffer recurrent injury and osteoarthritis. Outcome studies show that after ACLR, 81% of individuals return to sports, 65% return to their preinjury level and 55% return to competitive sports. Systematic reviews place the risk of ipsilateral retears at 5.8% and contralateral injuries at 11.8%, with recent reports of over 20% failure rate. Approximately 20% to 50% of patients will have evidence of OA within 10 to 20 yr. Factors important in reducing complications include timing of surgery, individualized return to play protocols, and prevention programs for injury. Further understanding of the factors that increase return to play percentages, reduce the risk of recurrent injury and improve long-term outcomes after ACL injury is needed to reduce the burden of these injuries on society.

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