Potential role of cross-education in early-stage rehabilitation after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction

Justin Andrushko*, Joshua C Carr, Jonathan P Farthing, Lindsey K Lepley, Jason M DeFreitas, Stuart Goodall, Ashlee M. Hendy, Glyn Howatson, Dustin R Grooms, Tjerk Zult, Tibor Hortobágyi, Gulcan Harput, Maria Papandreou, Kazunori Nosaka, Richard G Carson, Andrea Manca, Franca Deriu, David George Behm, Dawson J. Kidgell, Nicholas C. ClarkLara A. Boyd

*Corresponding author for this work

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Cross-education, which refers to the interlimb transfer of strength or motor skill following unilateral motor training, has demonstrated promise as a rehabilitation strategy for orthopaedic and neurological injuries, despite the limited number of clinical trials conducted. However, its application in anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR) rehabilitation has recently been contested, primarily due to the perceived risk of increasing limb asymmetry.1 During ACLR rehabilitation, improved physical function is associated with the ability to restore compromised quadriceps strength and activation.2 Protocols that mitigate and restore quadriceps weakness and strength post-ACLR are a critical component of rehabilitation. Cross-education may attenuate the loss in neuromuscular function during disuse (online supplemental file), serve as an adjunct intervention for increasing quadriceps strength3 and enhance neuroplasticity in pathways known to be attenuated with ACLR (online supplemental file). This commentary reviews the potential role of cross-education in rehabilitation following ACLR and offers a summary of the physiological rationale for considering this intervention during early-stage ACLR rehabilitation.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberbjsports-2023-107456
Pages (from-to)1474-1475
Number of pages3
JournalBritish Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number23
Early online date11 Oct 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2023

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