ACL Rehab: The Perfect Test
ACL Rehab Testing
In the world of ACL rehab, we WISH we could find the perfect ACL test. The test that would tell us if an athlete is ready to be discharged and return to sport, performing at a high level with low risk of reinjury. Unfortunately, we still haven’t found that test. So instead, we need to appreciate what WOULD make the perfect test. If we know what would make the perfect test, then we can identify the areas that our current testing procedures excel in and the areas they leave more to be desired. This allows us to create a cluster of tests that can provide us meaningful information as a whole and allow us to act more confidently with a greater grasp of the bigger picture. A perfect clinical test would possess the following three qualities:
Valid and Reliable
There is literature supporting the performance of this test to your intended patient population. The test can be repeatedly performed in a consistent and appropriate manner to gather the intended information. Think of the concept of “construct validity” here.
The test is actually able to be performed given your clinical resources and set up. It does not matter if a test is valid and reliable if you have no means of performing it in the clinic because you lack the requisite equipment or time to execute it. In that case, you will need to modify the testing procedure accordingly to your means and recognize it’s limitations.
The test is actually testing qualities that are relevant to the terminal task at hand. Someone can look at the test and easily connect the dots that what you are testing is relevant to the activity/sport/injury the athlete is dealing with it. Think of the concept of “content validity”.
How 2 Utilize
It’s rare a test possesses all three, but ideally you should be able to hit two or at least one of these. For the areas you do not observe with a test, be sure to include others in your testing battery that will. Utilize a grouping of test to gather a well rounded view of the individual and to gather all necessary information. Essentially you are “hedging your bets” with clinical decision making.
-Dr. Zach Baker, PT, DPT, SCS . Join the conversation! Engage and discuss with Zach on Instagram HERE!
A Guide 2 ACL Rehab
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