The Effects of Early Aggressive Rehabilitation on Outcomes After Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction Using Autologous Hamstring Tendon: A Randomized Clinical Trial

in Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
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Study Design:

Prospective randomized clinical trial.

Methods and Measures:

Thirty-six patients who had a primary anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACL-R) with a semitendinosus-gracilis (STG) autograft from a single orthopedic surgeon were prospectively randomized into 2 groups. Nineteen patients were randomized to the aggressive group (53% male, mean age 30.1 + 10.5 y) and 17 to the nonaggressive group (88% male, mean age 33.1 + 10.9 y). Impairment measures of anteroposterior (A-P) knee laxity, range of motion (ROM), and peak isometric force (PIF) values were obtained 12 wk postoperatively. Subjective response to the International Knee Documentation Committee knee form (IKDC) was collected 1, 12, and 24 wk postoperatively. One-way ANOVA was used to analyze differences between groups at 12 wk for A-P knee laxity, ROM, and PIF. Differences between the groups for the IKDC scores were determined using 1-way ANOVA with repeated measures 1, 12, and 24 wk postoperatively. Bonferroni adjustment was used for multiple comparisons.


There were no differences between the groups for the baseline characteristics (P > .05). There was no difference found between the groups in respect to A-P knee laxity, ROM, or PIF at 12 wk (P > .05). Further analysis also showed no significant differences in the IKDC scores between groups at 12 or 24 wk (P > .05).


No differences were found between early aggressive and nonaggressive rehabilitation after an isolated ACL-R using STG autografts for the primary outcomes of A-P knee laxity and subjective IKDC score. In addition, no differences were observed for secondary outcomes between groups for differences in ROM and PIF values.

Christensen is a physical therapist; Goldfine, a physical therapist assistant; and West, an orthopedic surgeon, with The Orthopedic Specialty Hospital, Murray, UT.

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