Orthopaedic Physical Therapy Practice
Background and Purpose: Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries are common among female athletes. The purpose of this literature review was to assess the effectiveness of neuromuscular conditioning to modify biomechanical risk factors for ACL injury.
METHOD: A structured literature search was conducted to identify primary research articles. Articles were graded according to their strength of evidence and a qualitative literature review was completed.
RESULTS: Seven primary research studies were available for analysis that documented the effects of neuromuscular conditioning (range of evidence grades: 1B to 3B). Lower limb kinematics, lower limb kinetics, and incidence of tears were the primary outcomes measures.
DISCUSSION: The effectiveness of neuromuscular training to modify the theoretical and actual risks for ACL injury is promising but not yet adequately confirmed in the literature.
CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Preliminary evidence indicates the effectiveness of neuromuscular training to reduce ACL injury risk, although mechanisms and optimal dosage of exercise remain unclear.
Assaly, SG, Davenport, TE, Mattern-Baxter, K. Effectiveness of neuromuscular conditioning to prevent anterior cruciate ligament injuries in female athletes: a critical synthesis of literature. Orthopaedic Physical Therapy Practice. 2011;23(3):140-146. © 2011, Orthopaedic Section, APTA, Inc.