Extrinsic Risk Factors for Primary Noncontact Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury in Adolescents Aged between 14 and 18 years: A Systematic Review

Matteo Crotti, Theresa Heering, Natalie Lander, Aaron Fox, Lisa Barnett, Michael Duncan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Background
Adolescents present a high incidence of ACL injury compared with other age groups. Examining the risk factors that predispose adolescents to primary noncontact ACL injury is a key strategy to decrease the number of injuries in this population.
Objective
The aim of this systematic review was to summarise the existing literature investigating extrinsic risk factors that have been linked with primary noncontact ACL injury risk (identified either using ACL injury occurrence or using screening tests measuring biomechanical mechanisms for noncontact ACL injury) in adolescents including research investigating: (1) the association between extrinsic risk factors and primary noncontact ACL injury risk; and (2) whether primary noncontact ACL injury risk was different in populations or groups exposed to different extrinsic risk factors in adolescents.
Methods
The same search strategy was used in MEDLINE, SPORTDiscus, CINAHL, PubMed and Embase. Articles were included if: written in English; published in peer-reviewed journals; investigating and discussing primary noncontact ACL injury risk associated with extrinsic risk factors; they were original research articles with an observational design; and participants presented a mean age ranging between 14 and 18 years. The Quality Assessment Tool for Observational Cohort and Cross-Sectional Studies (QATOCCS) was used to assess the quality and risk of bias of the articles included in this systematic review.
Results
The systematic review included 16 eligible articles published up to August 2022 about extrinsic risk factors for primary noncontact ACL injury including: sport (8 studies); sport exposure amount (5); sport level (3); sport season (1); environment (2); equipment (1). Differences in biomechanical risk factors predisposing to ACL injury were reported by sport in female adolescents playing basketball and soccer; however, no good evidence of differences in primary noncontact ACL injury rate by sport was reported in both male and female adolescents. There was contrasting evidence about associations between sport exposure and biomechanical and neuromuscular risk factors predisposing to ACL injury or primary noncontact ACL injury rate in both male and female adolescent players from different sports. There was weak evidence of differences in biomechanical risk factors predisposing to ACL injury by environmental condition in both male and female adolescents playing soccer and season phase in male adolescents playing basketball. Lastly, few good-quality articles suggested that higher sport level might be associated with increased primary noncontact ACL injury rate in female adolescents playing basketball and floorball and that bracing might not prevent primary noncontact ACL injuries in both male and female adolescent players from different sports.
Discussion
The findings emphasise the need for further research to clarify the evidence about extrinsic risk factors and primary noncontact ACL injury in adolescents to develop ACL injury prevention guidelines that would help practitioners and researchers identify adolescents at risk and design future interventions. Future epidemiological studies should collect data about extrinsic factors as well as data about primary noncontact injury separately from secondary injuries or contact injuries to better inform primary noncontact ACL injury prevention in adolescents.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)(In-Press)
Number of pages20
JournalSports Medicine
Volume(In-Press)
Early online date18 Jan 2024
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Jan 2024

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