ACL tears are one of the most common and devastating sporting injuries that athletes encounter. Following surgery and return to sport, rates of re-injury, either to the same knee, or opposite knee, are estimated at around 25%. As a result, many athletes fear re-injury upon returning to sport post-surgery, and research has shown that less than 50% of athletes will actually return to their sport. Some factors which have been associated with re-injury include:

  • Younger age (under 20-years old);
  • Higher activity level;
  • Female gender;
  • Returning to sport without proper conditioning:
    • Lack of strength (core and lower limb – on the injured and uninjured side);
    • Lack of neuromuscular control and proprioception

From this list there is really only one factor that can be modified and controlled, that  of “Proper Rehabilitation and Conditioning.” Research has been focused greatly on ACL rehabilitation programs, with a particular interest in neuromuscular control.

ACL injuries have been shown to result in decreased neuromuscular control, or functional stability of the knee joint, due to damage to mechanoreceptors. A healthy ACL has mechanoreceptors which help with muscle control, stability and proprioception. When an ACL is injured, so are these mechanoreceptors, which is one reason individuals commonly