Clinical and functional outcomes and proprioception after a modified accelerated rehabilitation program following anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction with patellar tendon autograft

Acta Orthop Traumatol Turc. 2010;44(3):220-8. doi: 10.3944/AOTT.2010.2293.


Objectives: The aim of this study was to evaluate the clinical and functional outcomes and proprioceptive function in patients who received a modified accelerated rehabilitation program after anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction with a patellar tendon (PT) graft.

Methods: The study included 38 patients (33 men, 5 women; mean age 27.6 ± 6.4 years; range 18 to 45 years) who underwent ACL reconstruction with a PT graft and participated in a modified accelerated rehabilitation program. Only six patients were athletes. Isokinetic strengths of concentric knee extension and flexion were measured with the Cybex isokinetic dynamometer, and static balance was tested with the Sport-KAT device. For proprioceptive assessment, active repositioning was measured at knee flexions of 40°, 20°, and 5° with an isokinetic dynamometer. Activity levels and subjective functional results were evaluated with the Tegner activity scale and Lysholm knee score, respectively. For objective functional testing, single leg hop, triple leg hop, and one-legged crossover hop tests were used. Knee stability was assessed with the Lachman test and anterior drawer test and knee range of motion was measured. The mean follow-up period was 16.2 ± 9.8 months.

Results: There was no graft failure during the follow-up. Twenty patients (52.6%) had hypoesthesia at the donor site and 15 patients (39.5%) had anterior knee pain. Before surgery, all the patients had positive results in the Lachman and anterior drawer tests. After surgery, the Lachman test was negative in 32 patients (84.2%), while six patients (15.8%) had grade 1 laxity. The mean Lysholm knee score showed a significant increase postoperatively (p<0.001). The mean preoperative and postoperative Tegner activity scores were not significantly different (p>0.05). There were no significant differences in the range of motion between operated and uninjured extremities (p>0.05). The two extremities were similar in proprioception and balance (p>0.05). Isokinetic quadriceps muscle strength was significantly decreased in the operated extremity only in extension at 60°/sec angular velocity (p<0.05). Other muscle strength measurements were similar in both extremities. The ratios of flexion/extension muscle strength were significantly greater in the involved extremity at all angular velocities (p<0.05). The mean performance scores of three functional tests were more than 85% of the uninvolved extremity. All the patients returned to preinjury daily activities or sports activities in 6 to 12 months postoperatively.

Conclusion: We had satisfactory clinical, proprioceptive, and functional results in achieving dynamic and static stability of the knee with the modified accelerated rehabilitation program after ACL reconstruction with a PT graft.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament / physiology
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament / surgery*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint / physiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Strength
  • Patellar Ligament / transplantation*
  • Plastic Surgery Procedures / rehabilitation*
  • Postural Balance
  • Proprioception*
  • Transplantation, Autologous / rehabilitation
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult