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Joints. 2016 Jan 31;3(4):179-85. doi: 10.11138/jts/2015.3.4.179. eCollection 2015 Oct-Dec.

Anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction and rehabilitation: predictors of functional outcome.

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Isokinetic Medical Group, FIFA Medical Centre of Excellence, Bologna, Italy.
Rizzoli Orthopaedic Institute, 2nd Clinic - Biomechanics Laboratory, Bologna, Italy.


Surgical reconstruction of an injured anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) leads to full recovery of function and sports activity in a high percentage of cases. The aim of the present study was to analyze variables related to the patient, the surgical technique and the post-surgical rehabilitation methods, seeking to identify predictors of outcome and recovery time after ACL reconstruction. One hundred and four patients (81 M, 23 F) undergoing a step-based rehabilitation protocol after ACL reconstruction were evaluated. 43.2% of them had an isolated ACL lesion, whereas 56.8% had one or more concurrent injuries. Data relating to personal characteristics, surgery and post-operative management were collected and analyzed for correlation. Clinical outcome was evaluated with IKDC subjective score and the Tegner score, and the time to reach full recovery was noted as well. Young patients with a higher pre-injury Tegner activity level or who practice sport at professional level, no concurrent capsular lesions and no postoperative knee bracing had better clinical results and took shorter time to recover. Also, a higher percentage of on-the-field rehabilitation sessions, and absence of significant muscle strength deficits at the first knee isokinetic test emerged as rehabilitation-related factors leading to a better post-surgical outcome. Personal, surgical and rehabilitation factors should be considered in order to optimize patient management and maximize the expected results. Further studies are needed to find the strongest factors in different patients.


Level IV, retrospective study.


ACL reconstruction; functional outcome; knee; rehabilitation

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