Accelerated rehabilitation program following medial patellofemoral ligament reconstruction does not increase risk of recurrent instability

Published:September 02, 2022DOI:



      Rehabilitation protocols following medial patellofemoral ligament (MPFL) reconstruction were historically restrictive, with patients often immobilized and/or given weightbearing restrictions. However, more recently published protocols have been more aggressive. We compared patient-reported outcomes and recurrent dislocation risk between patients treated with a restrictive rehabilitation program (early post-operative bracing and weightbearing restrictions) and an accelerated rehabilitation protocol (no post-operative bracing or weightbearing restrictions) following MPFL reconstruction.


      Patients who underwent isolated MPFL reconstruction at an academic center between 2008 and 2016 were identified. Patient demographics, anatomical measurements, surgical details, and outcomes were collected. During this period, the rehabilitation protocol at the center transitioned from a restrictive to an accelerated rehabilitation protocol. Failure risk and patient-reported outcomes were compared based on rehabilitation protocol.


      Of the163 isolated MPFL reconstructions performed during the study period, 123 (75%) were available for minimum one-year follow up at a mean of 4.0 years post-operative. Overall, 53 knees (43%) underwent the accelerated rehabilitation protocol and the remaining 70 knees (57%) underwent the restrictive protocol. There were 3 recurrent dislocations during the study period (2.4%), all of which occurred in the restrictive rehabilitation group. Multiple linear regression demonstrated that being in the accelerated rehabilitation group was not associated with poorer Knee injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (KOOS) subscales controlling for age, sex, body mass index, Caton-Deschamps Index, tibial tubercle-trochlear groove distance, sulcus angle, MPFL graft choice, and length of follow-up.


      An accelerated rehabilitation protocol without immobilization or weightbearing restrictions does not increase risk of recurrent patellar dislocation or poorer patient-reported outcome following isolated MPFL reconstruction.


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