Review| Volume 24, ISSUE 9, P862-870, September 2021

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Intensive supervised rehabilitation versus less supervised rehabilitation following anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction? A systematic review and meta-analysis



      To investigate whether intensive supervised rehabilitation following ACL reconstruction leads to superior self-reported function and sports participation compared to less supervised rehabilitation.


      Systematic review and meta-analysis.


      We included randomised controlled trials (RCTs) comparing supervised rehabilitation to rehabilitation with a similar protocol that used less supervised sessions for athletes following ACL reconstruction. Two reviewers independently screened studies and extracted data. The Physiotherapy Evidence Database (PEDro) scale was used to evaluate methodological quality and GRADE to evaluate overall quality of evidence. Self-reported function and sports participation were the primary outcomes. Data were pooled using random effects meta-analyses.


      Our search retrieved 4075 articles. Seven articles reporting on six RCTs were included (n = 353). Very-low to low-certainty evidence suggests intensive supervised rehabilitation is not superior to less supervised rehabilitation following ACL reconstruction for improving self-reported function, sports participation, knee flexor and extensor strength, range of motion, sagittal plane knee laxity, single leg hop performance, or quality of life.


      Based on uncertain evidence, intensive supervised rehabilitation is not superior to less supervised rehabilitation for athletes following ACL reconstruction. Although high-quality RCTs are needed to provide more certain evidence, clinicians should engage athletes in shared decision making to ensure athletes’ rehabilitation decisions align with current evidence on supervised rehabilitation as well as their preferences and values.


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