There are approximately 200,000 anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears reported annually in the United States. Patients who undergo ACL reconstruction followed by an aggressive rehabilitation protocol can often structurally and functionally progress to a preinjury level. Despite physical improvements with ACL-rehabilitation protocols, however, there are still a substantial number of individuals who do not return to preinjury level, particularly physically active individuals, of whom only 63% return to their full potential preinjury level. This may be due to continued pain, swelling, stiffness, and weakness in the knee. In addition, research concerning the topic of kinesiophobia (ie, fear of reinjury), which may prevent individuals from returning to their activities, has increased over the past several years. Kinesiophobia is defined as the irrational or debilitating movement of physical activity resulting in the feeling of vulnerability to painful injury or reinjury. Kinesiophobia may have a significant impact on physically active individuals, considering the proportion of patients who do not return to their sport. However, it is unknown whether kinesiophobia is associated with patients’ perceived physical-impairment levels after ACL reconstruction.
Focused Clinical Question:
Is kinesiophobia associated with self-perceived levels of knee function after ACL reconstruction?
The authors are with the Athletic Training Programs, A.T. Still University, Mesa, AZ.