Purpose The aim of this study was to assess the effect of knee bracing and timing of full weight bearing after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR) on functional outcomes at mid-term follow-up. Methods We performed a retrospective study on 41 patients with ACLR. Patients were divided in two groups: ACLR group, who received isolated ACL reconstruction and ACLR-OI group who received ACL reconstruction and adjunctive surgery. Information about age at surgery, bracing, full or progressive weight bearing permission after surgery were collected for the two groups. Subjective IKDC score was obtained at follow-up. Statistical analysis was performed to compare the two groups for IKDC score. Subgroup analysis was performed to assess the effect of postoperative regimen (knee bracing and weight bearing) on functional outcomes. Results The mean age of patients was 30.8 ± 10.6 years. Mean IKDC score was 87.4 ± 13.9. The mean follow-up was 3.5 ± 1.8 years. Twenty-two (53.7%) patients underwent ACLR only, while 19 (46.3%) also received other interventions, such as meniscal repair and/or collateral ligament suture. Analysis of overall data showed no differences between the groups for IKDC score. Patients in the ACLR group exhibited a significantly better IKDC score when no brace and full weight bearing after 4 weeks from surgery was prescribed in comparison with patients who worn a brace and had delayed full weight bearing. No differences were found with respect to the use of brace and postoperative weight bearing regimen in the ACLR-OI group. Conclusion Brace and delayed weight bearing after ACLR have a negative influence on long-term functional outcomes. Further research is required to explore possible differences in the patients operated on ACLR and other intervention with respect to the use of a brace and the timing of full weight bearing to identify optimal recovery strategies. Level of Evidence Level III, retrospective observational study.
- anterior cruciate ligament
- functional outcome
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine