Functional or physical performance tests, such as hop tests, are commonly used by physiotherapists and other rehabilitation clinicians to evaluate recovery after anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury and reconstruction. Indeed, they make up a vital part of the clinical decision on when to progress patients to next stages of rehabilitation and when an athlete can safely return to sport after ACL injury.


But can they predict the future? Are these functional tests of knee and lower-limb capacity that we use so often in the clinic able to tell us anything about future outcomes? Thankfully the answer is yes. Performance on functional tests performed after ACL injury can provide valuable information on future risk of poor knee symptoms, impaired quality of life, graft rupture and other knee injuries, and long-term osteoarthritis development.

Single hop for distance



Triple crossover hop for distance


One leg rise



6 metre timed hop


Battery of hop tests



What to do in the clinic?

Let’s use these clinical tests of functional performance and their prognostic ability to empower and motivate patients along their ACL rehabilitation journey. They provide instant feedback in the clinic and their important impact on future outcomes can be utilised to enhance motivation and adherence to rehabilitation.