The Interruption of Rehabilitation Following Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction due to COVID-19 Restrictions: Association With Return-to-Sport Testing

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, rehabilitation access was disrupted. This study compares late-stage ACLR rehabilitation outcomes before and during pandemic-related restrictions. It analyzes return-to-sport test data from two periods: pre-pandemic (Dec 2018 – Mar 2020) and during the pandemic (Jun – Oct 2020). Outcome measures include various physical tests. The findings highlight declines in post-ACLR performance during pandemic-related restrictions, despite virtual rehabilitation visits showing no significant association with outcomes. The study underscores the need for individualized rehabilitation considering factors beyond access to facilities.

Some simplified takeaways are:

  • Impact of COVID-19 Restrictions: The study investigates the influence of pandemic-related restrictions on late-stage rehabilitation outcomes following anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR).
  • Decline in Physical Performance: Patients undergoing ACLR during the pandemic-related restrictions demonstrated inferior performance in certain outcome measures, particularly in the lower-extremity functional test (LEFT) and single leg vertical jump on the unaffected side.
  • No Association with Virtual Rehabilitation: Despite the disruptions to in-person rehabilitation, there was no significant relationship found between virtual rehabilitation visits and performance outcomes during the surveillance period.
  • Consideration of Individual Needs: The study emphasizes the importance of individualized attention during late-stage rehabilitation, considering factors beyond access to rehabilitation facilities, such as self-efficacy and access to training facilities.
  • Future Research Directions: Further research is warranted to isolate the specific components influencing late-stage rehabilitation outcomes following ACLR during periods of disruption, such as the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.