It is well established that intra-articular anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction with autogenous bone-patellar tendon-bone graft provides satisfactory long-term stability. However, the rehabilitation programs employed following this surgical procedure have been a topic of considerable debate. This paper describes an accelerated rehabilitation protocol that is divided into four phases. The first phase encompasses the preoperative period, during which the patient will work to decrease swelling and restore range of motion and strength. The second phase involves Weeks 1 and 2 following surgery, with the patient emphasizing immediate terminal knee extension and weight bearing. The final two phases involve improving lower extremity strength and full return to daily and athletic activities. This accelerated rehabilitation protocol has resulted in an earlier return of range of motion and strength without compromising ligamentous stability.
The authors are with the Methodist Sports Medicine Center, 1815 North Capitol Ave., Suite 500, Indianapolis, IN 46202.