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Phys Sportsmed. 2018 Mar 29:1-6. doi: 10.1080/00913847.2018.1457933. [Epub ahead of print]

Variability of online available physical therapy protocols from academic orthopedic surgery programs for arthroscopic meniscus repair.

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a Department of Orthopaedic Surgery , Brown University, Warren Alpert School of Medicine , Providence , RI , USA.



To evaluate the variability of arthroscopic meniscus repair rehabilitation protocols.


Arthroscopic meniscus repair rehabilitation protocols from Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) accredited orthopedic surgery programs available online were included for review. Data collection was performed to evaluate recommended weight bearing status and immobilization as well as the presence or absence of recommended therapies, goals for progression of range of motion, functional milestones, and activity initiation time points within each protocol.


Out of 162 institutions available for review, 24 (14.8%) institutions made their protocol available on their website, with 28 total protocols available. Initially following repair, 14 (50%) of the protocols allow for weight bearing as tolerated (WBAT). Of the 14 protocols, which do not allow immediate weightbearing, average time to WBAT was 4.7 ± 1.8 weeks. On average, immobilization was recommended for 6.5 ± 2.1 weeks (range 4-12 weeks). A large majority of protocols gave recommendations for flexion to 90 degrees (24 protocols, range 1-8 weeks), as well as full range of motion (22 protocols, range 6-16 weeks). Active range of motion was recommended to begin at 0-6 weeks (average 3.8 ± 1.9 weeks). Lastly, only 14 protocols (50%) gave an actual return to sport, with an average return recommended at 21.9 ± 3.4 weeks (range 12-24).


A minority of ACGME-accredited orthopedic surgery programs make their meniscus repair rehabilitation protocols available online. Furthermore, protocols were found to be highly variable. This discrepancy may lead to confusion among therapists and patients.


Meniscus; arthroscopic surgery; rehabilitation; repair

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