The assessment of physical activity and return to sport and exercise activities is an important component in the overall evaluation of outcome after autologous cartilage implantation (ACI).
To identify the patient-report instruments that are commonly used in the evaluation of physical activity and return to sport after ACI and provide a critical analysis of these instruments from a rehabilitative perspective.
A computerized search was performed in January 2013 and repeated in March 2013. Criteria for inclusion required that studies (1) be written in English and published between 1994 and 2013; (2) be clinical studies where knee ACI cartilage repair was the primary treatment, or comparison studies between ACI and other techniques or between different ACI generations; (3) report postoperative physical activity and sport participation outcomes results, and (4) have evidence level of I–III.
Twenty-six studies fulfilled the inclusion criteria. Three physical activity scales were identified: the Tegner Activity Scale, Modified Baecke Questionnaire, and Activity Rating Scale. Five knee-specific instruments were identified: the Lysholm Knee Function Scale, International Knee Documentation Committee Score Subjective Form, Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score, Modified Cincinnati Knee Score, and Stanmore-Bentley Functional Score.
Considerable heterogeneity exists in the reporting of physical activity and sports participation after ACI. Current instruments do not fulfill the rehabilitative needs in the evaluation of physical activity and sports participation. The validated instruments fail in the assessment of frequency, intensity, and duration of sports participation.