Objective: Whether surgical or conservative treatment is more effective in allowing patients to return to physical activity after anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury is controversial. We sought to compare mid-term outcome measures between isolated ACL tear patients who underwent reconstruction followed by closed kinetic chain exercises and those who underwent neuromuscular training only.
Methods: We retrospectively evaluated patients with ACL tears who underwent post-surgery CKC strength training after ACL reconstruction (Group A), and patients who only underwent neuromuscular training (Group B) with a minimum follow-up time of 5 years. Surgical techniques, rehabilitation, assessment of subjective knee function, one-leg hop test, assessment of joint position sense, muscle strength, and the health profile of the patient were evaluated.
Results: Overall, 43 patients were included in Group A (mean age, 32.56 ± 4.89; Tegner activity scale, 5) and 39 patients in Group B (31.67 ± 7.27; 5). Patients in both groups returned to their regular physical activity level after a similar time frame (Group A: average, 12 months; Group B, average, 13.4 months). The mean Lysholm knee score was 88.52 ± 7.65 in Group A and 86.21 ± 13.72 in Group B. Mean distances for the one-leg hop test for Group A were 135.21 ± 31.66 and 145.36 ± 42.10 mm in the reconstructed and uninjured knees, respectively. In Group B, the mean hop distances were 132.47 ± 28.13 and 147.89 ± 21.45 mm in the rehabilitated and uninjured knees, respectively. No statistical difference was observed between the groups for any of the parameters evaluated, including assessment of subjective knee function, one-leg hop test, assessment of joint position sense, muscle strength, and the health profile.
Conclusion: Our data suggest that early surgical reconstruction may not be a prerequisite to returning to recreational physical activities after injury in patients with ACL tears.
Level of evidence: Level IV, therapeutic study.
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Document Type: Research Article
Orthopedics and Traumatology Department of Süleyman Demirel University Medical School, Isparta, Turkey
Sports Medicine Department of Süleyman Demirel University Medical School, Isparta, Turkey
Psychiatry Department of Süleyman Demirel University Medical School, Isparta, Turkey
Sports Medicine Department, Aydın State Hospital, Aydın, Turkey
January 1, 2018