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Efficacy of non-surgical management and functional outcomes of partial ACL tears. A systematic review of randomised trials

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posted on 2022-05-10, 01:59 authored by M Giummarra, L Vocale, Matthew KingMatthew King
Background: The incidence of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries represents a large burden of knee injuries in both the general and sporting populations, often requiring surgical intervention. Although there is much research on complete ACL tears including outcomes and indications for surgery, little is known about the short- and long-term outcomes of non-operative, physiotherapy led intervention in partial ACL tears. The primary aim of this study was to evaluate studies looking at the effectiveness of physiotherapy led interventions in improving pain and function in young and middle-aged adults with partial ACL tears. Additionally, the secondary aim was to evaluate the completeness of exercise prescription in randomised trials for physiotherapy led interventions in the management in partial ACL tears. Methods: A comprehensive and systematic search was performed on six databases (Medline, CINAHL, EMBASE, PEDro, Scopus, SPORTDiscus and Cochrane). The search strategy consisted of two main concepts: (i) partial ACL tears, and (ii) non-operative management. 7,587 papers were identified by the search. After screening of eligible articles by two independent reviewers, 2 randomised studies were included for analysis. The same two reviewers assessed the completeness of reporting using the Toigio and Boutellier mechanobiological exercise descriptions and Template for Intervention Description and Replication (TIDieR) checklist. Group mean standard deviations (SD) for the main outcomes was extracted from both papers for analysis. Prospero Registration Number: CRD42020179892. Results: The search strategy identified two studies; one looking at Tai Chi and the other Pilates. The analysis indicated that Tai Chi was significant in reducing pain scores and both Tai Chi and Pilates were found to increase Muscle Peak Torque Strength (MPTS) at 180 degrees. Furthermore, Tai Chi showed a significant increase in proprioception. Conclusions: Physiotherapy led interventions such as Pilates, and Tai Chi may improve pain, proprioception and strength in young and middle-aged adults with partial ACL tears, however full scale, high-quality randomised studies are required with long term outcomes recorded.


Publication Date



BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders





Article Number

ARTN 332







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