Current concepts in postoperative anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction management include participation in an "accelerated" rehabilitation program. There are no published reports examining the effects of accelerated or conservative rehabilitation on subjects with generalized ligamentous hyperelasticity. The purpose of this case study was to examine the effects of a conservative or "decelerated" rehabilitation program on the functional outcome of a hyperelastic female adolescent athlete following ACL reconstruction. The subject was a 15-year-old female basketball player who sustained a unilateral ACL tear and underwent subsequent ACL reconstruction using a patellar tendon autograft. The subject immediately began participation in a "decelerated" rehabilitation program in which the intensity and rate of progression was decelerated, emphasizing a prolonged period of maximum graft protection. Progress was objectively quantified with a battery of diagnosis-specific tests at scheduled intervals. Results at 52 weeks postoperative revealed normal range of motion, proprioception, balance, knee stability, quadriceps strength, hamstring strength, and subjective assessment values, and only a 4.0% deficit in functional scores. Our results suggest a "decelerated" rehabilitation program may be appropriate for the population with generalized ligamentous hyperelasticity by yielding excellent functional results without compromising the integrity of the graft and, ultimately, knee stability.
J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 1997;26(1):29-34.
Key Words: anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction, rehabilitation, hyperelasticity