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Clinical, Biomechanical, and Self-reported Health Status After ACL Reconstruction With Meniscal Repair in Soccer Players: Results at Minimum 1-Year Follow-up.

BACKGROUND: Performing meniscal repair with anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR) has been shown to contribute to the long-term preservation of knee health and gait biomechanics.

PURPOSE: To evaluate the role of meniscal repair in the performance of semiprofessional soccer players who returned to sport after ACLR.

STUDY DESIGN: Case series; Level of evidence, 4.

METHODS: This study included 51 male soccer players (mean ± SD age, 28.82 ± 5.33 years) who underwent ACLR at a single institution between July 2018 and July 2019. The players were divided into 3 groups according to surgery type: ACLR only (n = 30), ACLR with lateral meniscal repair (n = 9), and ACLR with medial meniscal repair (n = 12). Outcomes were evaluated through clinical examination, self-reported health questionnaires (Cincinnati Knee Rating System, Tegner activity score, Tegner Lysholm Knee Scoring Scale, Tampa Scale of Kinesiophobia, and ACL-Return to Sport After Injury), and biomechanical performance evaluations (balance, strength, coordination, and symmetry tests). Parametric and nonparametric tests were carried out for multiple comparisons.

RESULTS: The mean ± SD follow-up time was 20.75 ± 9.38 months. Although no significant differences emerged in clinical and self-reported health status, almost all the physical parameters tested resulted in lower performance in players treated with ACLR and meniscal repair. Moreover, patients with ACLR with lateral meniscal repair reported higher pain and fear of reinjury, with lower outcomes in terms of strength, symmetry, and coordination as compared with the other 2 groups. Balance abilities were significantly affected in players who underwent meniscal repair as compared with those who underwent ACLR only.

CONCLUSION: The findings showed that biomechanical performance measures and fear of reinjury were significantly worse in soccer players with associated meniscal repair at a minimum 1-year follow-up, especially in those with a lateral meniscal tear.

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