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Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine


Background: Multiligamentous knee injuries with a posterolateral corner injury represent a devastating insult to the knee.

Purpose: To evaluate multiligamentous knee reconstruction rehabilitation programs and recommend a rehabilitation program based on a review of published outcomes studies.

Study design: Systematic review; Level of evidence, 4.

Methods: A MEDLINE (PubMed), OVID, and Embase database search was conducted using the terms "posterolateral corner" and "rehabilitation." All articles obtained were examined to confirm their rehabilitation programs for multiligamentous knee injuries. These injuries included a posterolateral corner injury plus an isolated anterior or posterior cruciate ligament injury or a combined cruciate injury.

Results: Ten publications representing 245 patients with multiligamentous knee reconstruction were analyzed. Rehabilitation protocols were divided by weightbearing (WB) status: in 2 studies, patients were non-WB until postoperative 4 weeks (delayed WB; n = 61); 5 studies permitted progressive WB until postoperative 6 weeks (progressive WB; n = 123); and 3 studies allowed WB immediately after surgery (immediate WB; n = 61). No significant difference in outcome scores among the 3 WB groups was found. Arthrofibrosis requiring manipulation under anesthesia was the most common complication (11%) in the delayed WB group, followed by the immediate WB group (3%) and the progressive WB group (0%; P < .01). Overall complication rates were highest in the delayed WB group (44%), followed by the immediate and progressive WB groups (25% and 3%, respectively; P < .00001). The delayed WB group was permitted to return to sport at a mean of 10.5 months from the index procedure; the progressive WB group, at 6.0 months; and the immediate WB group, at 9.0 months (P < .05).

Conclusion: This review revealed no significant difference in outcome scores when comparing immediate, progressive, and delayed WB protocols. Time to permitted return to sport was not significantly different among the groups, but there existed a trend toward earlier return in the progressive WB group. Patients in the delayed and immediate WB groups experienced a higher overall complication rate. Progressive WB postoperative protocols may decrease the risk of complications without compromising outcomes; however, more research is needed to identify the optimal postoperative rehabilitation protocol, given the significant data heterogeneity currently available in the literature.



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PLC, guidelines, nonoperative rehabilitation, postoperative rehabilitation