The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of pre-operative exercise physiotherapy rehabilitation on the outcomes of treatment following anterior cruciate ligament injury. The following databases were searched: PubMed, Ovid, The Cochrane Library and Web of Science. Studies published between the inception of the databases and December 2015 were sought using appropriate keywords in various combinations. This search was supplemented with a manual search of the references of selected studies. Studies were assessed for methodological quality using the Physiotherapy Evidence Database scale.
A total of 500 studies were identified, of which eight studies met the inclusion criteria and were included in the present review. The average Physiotherapy Evidence Database score for the studies included was 5.8, which reflects an overall moderate methodological quality. The eight studies investigated a total of 451 subjects of which 71% ( n=319) were males. The age of the participants in the eight studies ranged from 15 to 57 years. The duration of the intervention in the studies ranged from 3 to 24 weeks. This review found that pre-operative physiotherapy rehabilitation is effective for improving the outcomes of treatment following anterior cruciate ligament injury, including increasing knee-related function and improving muscle strength. However, whilst there was a significant improvement in quality of life from baseline following intervention, no significant difference in quality of life was found between the control and intervention groups.
There is evidence to suggest that pre-operative physiotherapy rehabilitation is beneficial to patients with anterior cruciate ligament injury.