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Isokinetic muscle strength and readiness to return to sport following anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction: is there an association? A systematic review and a protocol recommendation
  1. Marit Baste Undheim1,
  2. Ciaran Cosgrave1,
  3. Enda King1,2,
  4. Siobhán Strike2,
  5. Brendan Marshall1,3,
  6. Éanna Falvey1,4,
  7. Andrew Franklyn-Miller1,5
  1. 1Sports Medicine Department, Sports Surgery Clinic, Dublin, Ireland
  2. 2Department of Life Sciences, Roehampton University, London, UK
  3. 3Insight Centre for Data Analytics, Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland
  4. 4Department of Medicine, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland
  5. 5Centre for Health, Exercise and Sports Medicine, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Marit Baste Undheim, Sports Medicine Department, Sports Surgery Clinic, Santry Demesne, Dublin 9, Ireland; mundheim{at}


Introduction Following anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR), strength is a key variable in regaining full function of the knee. Isokinetic strength is commonly used as part of the return to sport (RTS) criteria.

Aim We systematically reviewed the isokinetic strength evaluation protocols that are currently being used following ACLR. A secondary aim was to suggest an isokinetic protocol that could meet RTS criteria.

Method Articles were searched using ScienceDirect, PubMed and Sage Journals Online, combined with cross-checked reference lists of the publications. Protocol data and outcome measurements and RTS criteria were extracted from each article included in the review.

Results 39 studies met the inclusion criteria and reported their isokinetic strength evaluation protocol following ACLR. The variables that were most commonly used were concentric/concentric mode of contraction (31 studies), angular velocity of 60°/s (29 studies), 3–5 repetitions (24 studies), range of motion of 0–90° (6 studies), and using gravity correction (9 studies). 8 studies reported strength limb symmetry index scores as part of their RTS criteria.

Conclusions There was no standardised isokinetic protocol following ACLR; isokinetic strength measures have not been validated as useful predictors of successful RTS. We propose a standard protocol to allow consistency of testing and accurate comparison of future research.

  • ACL
  • Isokinetics
  • Strength isometric isokinetic

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