Current practice patterns for the management of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury favor surgical reconstruction. However, long-term outcomes may not differ between patients completing operative and nonoperative treatment of ACL injury. Differences in outcomes between operative and nonoperative treatment of patients in the United States is largely unknown, as are outcomes in long-term strength and performance measures.
The current findings indicate that favorable outcomes can occur after both operative and nonoperative management approaches with the use of progressive criterion-based rehabilitation. Further study is needed to determine clinical algorithms for identifying the best candidates for surgical versus nonoperative care after ACL injury. These findings provide an opportunity to improve the educational process between patients and clinicians regarding the expected clinical course and long-term outcomes of operative and nonoperative treatment of ACL injuries.
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