Tegner and Lyshom showed that activity grading is a valuable complement to functional scoring of the knee. Limitations in knee function can be masked by a low activity grade. In Tegner’s study on 76 patients, the mean score for patients at activity levels 5-10 was 83 +/- 10, and that for patients at activity level 0 was 53 +/- 16 (p < .001). Seventeen percent of patients in activity levels 0-3 had a score above 83.
Terms such as “return to sports” are often used in the evaluation of different treatments of knee ligament injuries. Because different sports and activities put different strains on the knee, such terms lack meaning. It is better to grade different activities on a Tegner and Lysholm activity scale. The preinjury, present, and desired activity levels are readily defined with such a scale.
Tegner Y, Lysholm J: Rating systems in the evaluation of knee ligament injuries. Clin Orthop 198:43-49, 1985.
Johnson DS, Smith RB.Outcome measurement in the ACL deficient knee–what’s the score? Knee. 2001 Mar;8(1):51-7. Review.