Objectifying the Pivot Shift Test

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The pivot shift test is utilized for assessment of rotatory instability in the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) deficient knee. There are multiple reports of the pivot shift maneuver, and there is a lack of consensus among clinicians as to a standardized maneuver. Measurement devices are a feasible option to evaluate rotatory knee instability, objectively or quantitatively. Traditionally, measurement systems have been invasive systems. More recently, electromagnetic system, inertial sensor, or imaging analysis systems, specifically with the utilization of a tablet computer, have emerged as noninvasive, and more importantly, validated options. It is important to recognize that anatomic structures other than the ACL contribute to rotatory knee stability. Addressing the tibial slope, anterolateral structures of the knee, specifically the iliotibial band, and menisci during ACL surgery may decrease residual pivot shift in an attempt to improve clinical outcomes and prevent reinjury. This review article describes the pivot shift maneuver, objective measurement tools, and clinical applications of the pivot shift test.

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