Readiness to Return to Sport After ACL Reconstruction: A Combination of Physical and Psychological Factors

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Although the incidence of anterior cruciate ligament injuries continues to rise, return to sport (RTS) rates remain low and risk of the second injury remains high. No gold-standard criteria exist for medical clearance to RTS after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction. The lack of consensus may be driven by the multifactorial nature of the clinical decision that includes a combination of physical and psychological factors. Tools such as the Quality of Movement Assessment, which identifies physical deficits and faulty movement patterns to provide targeted recommendations for safe RTS, and the Anterior Cruciate Ligament Return to Sport after Injury Scale, which determines psychological readiness by measuring an athlete’s emotions, confidence, and risk appraisal, have been developed in recent years. This review summarizes the existing evidence regarding RTS and highlights the need for a comprehensive evaluation of an athlete’s readiness to return.

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