And the award for the best 2015 BJSM ‘Sports Injury and Illness’ Systematic Review goes to…

By Angela Spontelli Gisselman  (@ASGPhysio) and Christina Le (@yegphysio)

Systematic reviews are the gold standard for critically appraising clinically relevant literature. Twice yearly, BJSM hosts a competition to award the authors of the “best” systematic review(s). Based on prior BJSM competitions, the “best” systematic reviews are determined following an objective, systematic appraisal process (see the end of this blog for details).

Because of the quantity and high quality of systematic reviews submitted to BJSM, we divided this semi-annual contest into two categories – 1) Physical Activity Systematic Reviews, and 2) Sports Injury and Illness Systematic Reviews. In this blog, we highlight the systematic reviews that fall into the Sports Injury and Illness category.

michael-jordon-ice-kneesThe top 4 Sports Injury and Illness Systematic Review finalists published between July and December 2015 were:

  • Filbay et al (2015). Quality of life in anterior cruciate ligament-deficient individuals: a systematic review and meta-analysis
  • van Meer et al (2015). Which determinants predict tibiofemoral and patellofemoral osteoarthritis after anterior cruciate ligament injury? A systematic review
  • Lack et al (2015). Proximal muscle rehabilitation is effective for patellofemoral pain: a systematic review with meta-analysis
  • OIds et al (2015). Risk factors which predispose first-time traumatic anterior shoulder dislocations to recurrent instability in adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis
  • Pas et al (2015). Efficacy of rehabilitation (lengthening) exercises, platelet-rich plasma injections, and other conservative interventions in acute hamstring injuries: an update systematic review and meta-analysis

And, the winner for the Best Injury and Illness Systematic review is:

Lack et al (2015). Proximal muscle rehabilitation is effective for patellofemoral pain: a systematic review with meta-analysis

Mr. Simon Lack and his colleagues produced a comprehensive systematic review with meta-analysis on the topic of proximal muscle rehabilitation for patients with patellofemoral pain (PFP). A timely follow-up to the 2014 BJSM winner of the best risk factor-based systematic review (Rathleff et al (2014)), Lack et al identify a well-defined literature gap and effectively communicate new findings regarding the effects and possible mechanisms of proximal muscle intervention for PFP. Through their meta-analysis and pooling of data across short, medium, and long term time points, they conclude the greatest effects on pain and improvements in function for patients with PFP are achieved when proximal muscle rehabilitation is combined with quadriceps strengthening. Of particular clinical interest were the results that closed kinetic chain quadriceps rehabilitation is equally as effective as open kinetic chain proximal muscle rehabilitation for increasing proximal muscle strength. These findings are encouraging for clinicians who appreciate the diverse clinical and pain presentations of patients with PFP. We commend the authors for their careful design and organization of their systematic review which was clearly written with the BJSM community in mind.

All systematic reviews published between July 2015 and December 2015 were evaluated by two independent reviewers with the following criteria:

  1. PRISMA Guidelines (Methods): How well did the authors adhere to the internationally recommended report guidelines for systematic reviews?
  1. Clinical Relevance: Is the review’s topic highly relevant to the BJSM community of clinicians? Do the content and results have the potential to significantly impact clinical reasoning and practice?
  1. Introduction: Intriguing and Informative? Does the introduction provide a succinct description of the background literature and establish a distinct need for the systematic review?
  1. Results & Discussion: Comprehensive and well contextualized? How well did the authors critically evaluate and synthesize their results in the context of existing research? Did the authors address their study objectives and provide a thorough discussion of their findings?
  1. Conclusion: Clear and concise? Did the authors effectively communicate a concise take-home message that readers can feasibly incorporate into clinical practice? Was the conclusion accurate while acknowledging study limitations and guiding future research?


Angela Spontelli Gisselman (@ASGPhysio) is in her third and final year as a PhD candidate in Physiotherapy at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand. Angela received her Doctor of Physical Therapy from Duke University in 2011 and completed residency training at University of North Carolina to become a ABPTS board-certified orthopedic clinical specialist (OCS) in 2014. For her PhD research, she is investigating the role of monitoring the autonomic nervous system in the presence of musculoskeletal overuse injuries. Alongside her husband, she enjoys mountain biking, hiking, photography, and stargazing during her PhD study breaks.

Christina Le (@yegphysio) is a graduate of the MScPT program at the University of Alberta. Christina works as a physiotherapist at the Glen Sather Sports Medicine Clinic (GSSMC) in Edmonton, Canada. In addition to being a clinician, she serves as the GSSMC interdisciplinary knee team lead and FC Edmonton physiotherapist. She is currently pursuing a PhD with a focus on knee injury rehabilitation.

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