Context: Higher knee function is linked to psychological readiness to return to sport following anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR). Individuals with ACLR participate in less physical activity compared to matched uninjured controls, yet the association between knee function and physical activity following ACLR remains unclear.

Objective: To determine the association between patient-reported knee function measured with the Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcomes Score Quality of Life (KOOS-QOL), daily steps, and minutes spent in moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) in individuals with ACLR. Secondarily, we determined associations between KOOS-QOL, daily steps, and MVPA in individuals with ACLR who presented with (symptomatic) and without (asymptomatic) clinically meaningful knee related symptoms.

Design: Cross-sectional study.

Setting: Laboratory, Free-living conditions.

Patients or Other Participants: Sixty-six individuals with primary unilateral ACLR (55% female, 22±4 years, 28±33 months post-ACLR, BMI: 24.2±2.9 kg/m2). Outcome Measure(s): We collected KOOS and retrospectively stratified participants into those with (symptomatic [n=30]) or without (asymptomatic [n=36]) clinically meaningful knee related symptoms based on previously defined KOOS cutoffs. We assessed daily steps and MVPA from ActiGraph GT9X Link accelerometers which each participant wore on the right hip for 7 days. We conducted linear regressions to determine associations between KOOS-QOL, daily steps, and MVPA.

Results: No significant associations existed in the entire sample between KOOS-QOL and daily steps (ΔR2=0.01, P=0.50) or MVPA (ΔR2=0.01, P=0.36). In symptomatic individuals, greater KOOS-QOL associated with greater MVPA (ΔR2=0.12, P=0.05,). No significant associations existed between KOOS-QOL, daily steps, and MVPA in the asymptomatic group.

Conclusions: Symptomatic individuals with ACLR who spent more time in MVPA reported higher quality of life.

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Author notes

Financial Disclosures: The current study was funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health National Institute of Arthritis & Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (R21 AR074094).

Competing Interests

Conflict of Interest: The results of this study are presented clearly, honestly, and without fabrication, falsification, or inappropriate data manipulation.

The Institutional Review Board at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill approved all methods