Do ACL Injury Risk Reduction Exercises Reflect Common Injury Mechanisms? A Scoping Review of Injury Prevention Programs

Steven Dischiavi, Alexis A Wright, Rachael A Heller, Claire E Love, Adam J Salzman, Christian A Harris, C M Bleakley

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
220 Downloads (Pure)


Context: Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury risk reduction programs have become increasingly popular. As ACL injuries continue to reflect high incidence rates, the continued optimization of current risk reduction programs, and the exercises contained within them, is warranted. The exercises must evolve to align with new etiology data, but there is concern that the exercises do not fully reflect the complexity of ACL injury mechanisms. It was outside the scope of this review to address each possible inciting event, rather the effort was directed at the elements more closely associated with the end point of movement during the injury mechanism. Objective: To examine if exercises designed to reduce the risk of ACL injury reflect key injury mechanisms: multiplanar movement, single limb stance, trunk and hip dissociative control, and a flight phase. Data Sources: A systematic search was performed using PubMed, Medline, EBSCO (CINAHL), SPORTSDiscus, and PEDro databases. Study Selection: Eligibility criteria were as follows: (1) randomized controlled trials or prospective cohort studies, (2) male and/or female participants of any age, (3) exercises were targeted interventions to prevent ACL/knee injuries, and (4) individual exercises were listed and adequately detailed and excluded if program was unable to be replicated clinically. Study Design: Scoping review. Level of Evidence: Level 4. Data Extraction: A total of 35 studies were included, and 1019 exercises were extracted for analysis. Results: The average Consensus on Exercise Reporting Template score was 11 (range, 0-14). The majority of exercises involved bilateral weightbearing (n = 418 of 1019; 41.0%), followed by single limb (n = 345 of 1019; 33.9%) and nonweightbearing (n = 256 of 1019; 25.1%). Only 20% of exercises incorporated more than 1 plane of movement, and the majority of exercises had sagittal plane dominance. Although 50% of exercises incorporated a flight phase, only half of these also involved single-leg weightbearing. Just 16% of exercises incorporated trunk and hip dissociation, and these were rarely combined with other key exercise elements. Only 13% of exercises challenged more than 2 key elements, and only 1% incorporated all 4 elements (multiplanar movements, single limb stance, trunk and hip dissociation, flight phase) simultaneously. Conclusion: Many risk reduction exercises do not reflect the task-specific elements identified within ACL injury mechanisms. Addressing the underrepresentation of key elements (eg, trunk and hip dissociation, multiplanar movements) may optimize risk reduction in future trials.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)592-600
Number of pages9
JournalSports Health
Issue number4
Early online date25 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Jul 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s).


  • exercise
  • hip
  • knee
  • injury prevention
  • neuromuscular training
  • Prospective Studies
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries/prevention & control
  • Risk Reduction Behavior
  • Athletic Injuries/prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Exercise Therapy
  • Female


Dive into the research topics of 'Do ACL Injury Risk Reduction Exercises Reflect Common Injury Mechanisms? A Scoping Review of Injury Prevention Programs'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this