Sensorimotor Dysfunction Following Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction- an Afferent Perspective: A Scoping Review.

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Sensorimotor Dysfunction Following Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction- an Afferent Perspective: A Scoping Review.

Vitharana TN, King E, Moran K.



Background: Sensorimotor dysfunction is thought to occur following anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury which may have implications on future reinjury risk. Dysfunction has been demonstrated within the efferent component of the sensorimotor system. However, no reviews have examined the two main components of the afferent system: the visual and somatosensory systems.

Hypothesis/Purpose: This study aimed to report differences in function (central processing and local processing) within the (1) somatosensory and (2) visual systems between individuals following anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR) and healthy controls (between-subject). The study also aimed to report differences in function within the two systems between the two limbs of an individual following ACLR (within-subject).

Study Design: Scoping review

Methods: A search was conducted in PubMed, SPORTDiscus, CINAHL, Medline and Embase up until September 2021. Level I-IV studies assessing somatosensory and visual systems were included if they compared ACLR limbs to the uninjured contralateral limb (within-subject) or a healthy control limb (between-group). The function of somatosensory and visual systems was assessed across both central processing (processing of information in the central cortex) and local processing (all other assessments outside of central processing of information).

Results: Seventy studies were identified (52 somatosensory, 18 visual). Studies examining somatosensory central processing demonstrated significant differences; 66% of studies exhibited within-subject differences and 100% of the studies exhibited between-group differences. Studies examining local somatosensory processing had mixed findings; 40% of the ‘joint position sense (JPS)’ and ‘threshold to detect motion (TTDM)’ studies showed significant within-subject differences (JPS=0.8°-3.8° and TTDPM=0.2°-1.4°) and 42% demonstrated significant between-group differences (JPS=0.4°-5° and TTDPM=0.3°-2.8°). Eighty-three percent of visual central processing studies demonstrated significant dysfunction between-groups with no studies assessing within-subject differences. Fifty percent of the studies examining local visual processing demonstrated a significant between-group difference.

Conclusion: Significant differences in central processing exist within somatosensory and visual systems following ACLR. There is mixed evidence regarding local somatosensory and visual processing. Increased compensation by the visual system and local visual processing dysfunction may occur in conjunction with somatosensory dysfunction.