Why Have a Return-to-Sport Test on Your Injured Knee?

Posted on: 30 August 2019

If you're having treatment for a knee injury and you play a sport regularly, then your rehabilitation clinic may talk to you about having a return-to-sport test. What does this test involve and is it a good idea?

What Is a Return-to-Sport Test?

A return-to-sport test can assess the condition of an injured knee. This testing looks at how the injury is healing and how likely it is that it will recur if you start playing your sport again now.

So, for example, a test may involve evaluating your knee and its general functionality. You are likely to run through various physical tests that measure things like strength, endurance and flexibility in the knee itself. Other tests investigate the condition of surrounding muscle groups in your legs.

Often, this process also involves talking to you about how your knee feels at the moment, such as if you have any residual pain or symptoms from the injury. The person running the tests will also ask you how confident you feel about using the knee again in a sports scenario.

What Are the Benefits of a Return-to-Sport Test?

Knee injuries can take time to heal, even with help such as physiotherapy. You may get to a stage where your knee feels OK again; however, playing sports too soon increases the risk that your injury will return or flare up.

You may also lack confidence about starting to play again. If you're worried about re-injuring your knee, then you can't play freely. This may affect other areas of your body if you overcompensate to try to protect your knee.

A return-to-sport test takes some of the guesswork out of this process. For example, your test results tell you if there are any current risk factors that might increase the chances of the knee getting injured again when you play sport. Your tests may also highlight areas of weakness that still need work. If you focus on these areas, then you may speed up your overall recovery time and reduce a reoccurrence of the injury in the future. If the results are good and your clinic thinks you're fit to play your sport again now, then you have the peace of mind that your knee is in an acceptable state.

To find out more about how to organise and prepare for a return-to-sport test, contact your knee rehabilitation clinic. They should be able to give you more information.

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