Which Tests Predict 6-Month Isokinetic Quadriceps Strength After ACL Reconstruction? An Examination of Isometric Quadriceps Strength and Functional Tests at 3 Months.
Giampetruzzi N, Weaver AP, Roman DP, Cleland JA, Ness BM.
Background: Restoration of quadriceps strength after anterior ligament reconstruction (ACLR) is a persistent challenge for patients and clinicians. Inadequate recovery of quadriceps strength has been linked to increase risk of re-injury. Developing methods of early identification of strength deficits is essential to allow clinicians to provide more individualized interventions early in the rehabilitation process.
Purpose: To determine whether 3-month isometric quadriceps strength, the Y-Balance Test (YBT), and the anterior step-down test are predictive of isokinetic quadriceps strength at six months in adolescents after ACLR.
Design: Retrospective cohort
Methods: Thirty-six adolescent patients with primary ACLR (58% female, 36% with concomitant meniscal repair, age: 15.7 ± 1.6 years). At three months post-operative, isometric quadriceps strength via isokinetic dynamometer, YBT-Lower Quarter, and anterior step-down tests were completed. At six months post-operative, an isokinetic knee strength assessment was completed. Regression analysis was used to evaluate the predictive relationship between 3-month isometric tests and 6-month isokinetic knee extension tests.
Results: Three-month post operative isometric quadriceps peak torque predicted isokinetic quadriceps peak torque at 6 months, F(1,34) = 19.61, p <0.001. Three-month isometric quadriceps peak torque accounted for 36.6% of the variance in normalized isokinetic quadriceps peak torque at 6 months with adjusted R2 = 34.7%. Including YBT anterior reach (β = 0.157, p = 0.318) in regression added 1.9% of variance when predicting 6-month isokinetic quadriceps peak torque, F (2,33) = 10.32, p <0.001, R2 = 0.385, ΔR2 = 0.019.
Conclusion: At three months post-ACLR, isometric strength testing appears more optimal than other functional tests in predicting isokinetic quadriceps peak torque in later stages of rehabilitation for adolescents. Clinicians should use tests at three months that measure quadriceps strength if aiming to predict isokinetic quadriceps peak torque at six months post-ACLR, rather than using functional tests such as the YBT-LQ or anterior step-down.
Level of Evidence: Level 3