The aim of this study was to describe individuals’ expectations, motivation, and satisfaction before, during, and after rehabilitation for ACL reconstruction and to explore how these factors were associated with return to pre-injury sport activity at 1-year follow-up. Sixty-five individuals (34 males), median age 22 (15-45) years, scheduled for ACL reconstruction participated. Participants completed the International Knee Documentation Committee Subjective Knee Form (IKDC-SKF) and questions about expectations, satisfaction, and motivation pre-operatively and at 16 and 52 weeks after surgery. Prior to surgery, 86 % of participants stated that their goal was to return to their pre-injury sport activity. Those who had returned to their pre-injury sport activity at 52 weeks were more motivated during rehabilitation to return to their pre-injury activity level, more satisfied with their activity level and knee function at 52 weeks, and scored significantly higher on the IKDC-SKF [median 92.0 (range 66.7-100.0)] at 52 weeks, compared to those who had not returned [median 77.6 (range 50.6-97.7)].
Prior to ACL reconstruction, most participants expected to return to their pre-injury activity level. Higher motivation during rehabilitation was associated with returning to the pre-injury sport activity. The participants who had returned to their pre-injury sport activity were more satisfied with their activity level and knee function 1 year after the ACL reconstruction. Facilitating motivation might be important to support individuals in achieving their participation goals after ACL reconstruction.