Proprioceptive deficits after ACL injury: Are they clinically relevant?

Alli Gokeler, Anne Benjaminse, Timothy E. Hewett, Scott M. Lephart, Lars Engebretsen, Eva Ageberg, Martin Engelhardt, Markus P. Arnold, Klaas Postema, Egbert Otten, Pieter U. Dijkstra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


Objective: To establish the clinical relevance of proprioceptive deficits reported after anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury. Material and Methods: A literature search was done in electronic databases from January 1990 to June 2009. Inclusion criteria for studies were ACL deficient (ACL-D) and ACL reconstruction (ACL-R) articles written in English, Dutch or German and calculation of correlation(s) between proprioception tests and clinical outcome measures. Clinical outcome measures were muscle strength, laxity, hop test, balance, patientreported outcome, Objective: knee score rating, patient satisfaction or return to sports. Studies included in the review were assessed on their methodological quality. Results: In total 1161 studies were identified of which 24 met the inclusion criteria. Pooling of all data was not possible due to substantial differences in measurement techniques and data analysis. Most studies failed to perform reliability measurements of the test device used. In general, the correlation between proprioception and laxity, balance, hop tests and patient outcome was low. Four studies reported a moderate correlation between proprioception, strength, balance or hop test. Conclusion: There is limited evidence that proprioceptive deficits as detected by commonly used tests adversely affect function in ACL-D and ACL-R patients. Development of new tests to determine the relevant role of the sensorimotor system is needed. These tests should ideally be used as screening tests for primary and secondary prevention of ACL injury.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)180-192
Number of pages13
JournalBritish Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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