The triple hop for distance test commonly uses a limb symmetry index (LSI) ‘pass’ threshold of >90% for total hop distance following anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR). However, understanding the manner in which athletes generate and dissipate forces during consecutive hops within the test may provide greater insight into residual limb deficits. The aim of the study was to examine reactive strength ratios (RSR) of individual hops during a triple hop test in a cohort of ACLR patients at discharge prior to return-to-sport.
Twenty male athletes (24.6 ± 4.2 years; height 175.3 ± 10.2 cm; mass 73.6 ± 14.5 kg) completed the test on both non-operated and operated limbs. Total distance hopped, contact times, flight times and RSR were collected for each hop using a floor-level optical measurement system.
Significant, small to moderate between-limb differences (p < 0.05; d = 0.45-0.72) were shown for triple hop distance, flight time and RSR for each hop, with lower performance consistently displayed in the operated limb. Large, significant differences in RSR were evident between hops one and two on the operated limb (p 90% LSI for total hop distance, less than 50% of participants reached the >90% LSI threshold for RSR.
Standardised LSI ‘pass’ thresholds (>90% LSI) for triple hop distance may mask residual deficits in reactive strength performance of operated limbs; therefore, more detailed analyses of individual hop performance may be warranted to enhance return to sport criteria following ACLR.
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