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ACL Return to Sport Test: Single Leg Hop Series

     Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) tears are common in basketball because of the amount of explosive movements that happen, such as cutting, jumping, and change in direction. If you would like to learn more about ACL tears, check out this video. As a result, players that want to return to playing basketball at a high level require ACL-Reconstruction following an ACL tear.

     Recovering from ACL surgery and getting back to sports is a journey that requires patience, dedication, and careful evaluation. One essential aspect of this process is passing specific tests that assess your knee’s strength, stability, and readiness for sport-related activities. The biggest thing with athletes is that they do not take the proper time and rehab to fully return back to basketball. In this article, we’ll delve into a key return to sport test series and its importance in ACL surgery recovery.

Understanding ACL Surgery & Rehab:

     ACL-Reconstruction surgery is commonly performed to essentially replace a torn ACL. The ACL is crucial in the knee joint to provide stability, especially against hyperextension and internal rotation/adduction of the knee. After surgery, rehabilitation is the most important thing. It is essential to regain range of motion, strength, flexibility, and function in the knee. However, returning to sports too soon can increase the risk of re-injury. That’s why it’s crucial to undergo a comprehensive rehabilitation program and pass specific tests before resuming sports activities.

Return to Sport Test Series: Single Leg Hop Series

Several tests are used to assess an individual’s readiness to return to sport after ACL surgery. Among these, the single leg hop test series are widely recognized for their ability to evaluate lower extremity function and symmetry:

1. Single Leg Hop For Distance

     This test assesses your ability to generate power and control on a single leg. You hop forward on one leg as far as possible and then stick the landing on that same leg. This test helps evaluate your limb symmetry and functional performance.

2. Single Leg Triple Hop For Distance

     Similar to the single leg hop for distance, this test requires you to hop forward three times on one leg consecutively, and stick the landing after the final hop. It assesses your ability to absorb and generate force repeatedly on a single leg.

3. Single Leg Triple Crossover Hop For Distance

     This test focuses on lateral agility and dynamic stability. You hop side-to-side three times on one leg consecutively, crossing over an imaginary line with each hop, and then stick the landing after the final hop. It evaluates your ability to change direction and control movement.

4. 10-Meter Single Leg Hop for Time

     This test assesses your speed and coordination. You hop as quickly as possible across a 10-meter distance on one leg consecutively, focusing on rapid and controlled movements. It measures your ability to generate power and acceleration.

Interpreting The Results:

     After completing each hop test multiple times, you calculate the average distance or time for each leg. Ideally, you want your surgically repaired leg to perform as well as or better than your uninjured leg. Achieving symmetry between the two legs is crucial for reducing the risk of re-injury and ensuring optimal performance in sports.

     Each of these tests in this hop series provides an objective measurement to compare the surgical limb to the non-surgical limb. Furthermore, you are able to compare your results to the “normal” based on your age and gender. In addition to the objective measurements, your physical therapist will assess less objective measurements, such as movement confidence and comfortability, shock absorption, fluidity, and mechanics.


     Passing these hop tests is a critical milestone in ACL surgery recovery. They provide valuable insights into your knee’s strength, stability, and functional abilities, helping you and your healthcare team make informed decisions about returning to sports. Remember to prioritize proper rehabilitation, follow your healthcare provider’s guidance, and listen to your body throughout the recovery process.

     By incorporating these tests into your rehabilitation program and focusing on achieving symmetry and functional performance, you can increase your chances of returning to sports safely and confidently after ACL surgery. Stay committed, stay patient, and let’s conquer this recovery journey together!

The Basketball Doctors - Gabriel Ignacio Physical Therapist

Dr. Gabriel Ignacio PT, DPT, OCS, TPI

The Basketball Doctors - Marco Lopez Physical Therapist

Dr. Marco Lopez PT, DPT, CSCS

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