Successful return to sports in athletes following non-operative management of acute isolated posterior cruciate ligament injuries: MEDIUM-TERM FOLLOW-UP

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Abstract

Aims

The aim of this study was to report the outcome of the non-operative treatment of highgrade posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) injuries, particularly Hughston grade III injuries, which have not previously been described.

Patients and Methods

This was a prospective study involving 46 consecutive patients who were athletes with MRI-confirmed isolated PCL injuries presenting within four weeks of injury. All had Hughston grade II (25 athletes) or III (21 athletes) injuries. Our non-operative treatment regimen involved initial bracing, followed by an individualised rehabilitation programme determined by the symptoms and physical signs. The patients were reviewed until they had returned to sports-specific training, and were reviewed again at a mean of 5.2 years (3 to 9).

Results

The mean time to return to sports-specific training was 10.6 weeks and the mean time to return to full competitive sport was 16.4 weeks (10 to 40). A total of 42 patients (91.3%) were playing at the same or higher level of sport two years after the injury, with a mean Tegner activity score of 9 (5 to 10). At five years, 32 patients (69.5%) were playing at the same or higher level of sport, and 38 patients (82.6%) were playing at a competitive level, with a mean Tegner activity score of 9 (5 to 10).

Conclusions

Medium-term review of a series of athletes suggests that commencing the non-operative management of isolated, Hughston grade II and III PCL injuries within four weeks of injury gives excellent functional outcomes with a high proportion returning to the same or higher level of sport.

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