Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Quality of life after ACL reconstruction, a qualitative study

A qualitative study by SPHPM researcher Associate Professor Ilana Ackerman and colleagues Professor Kay Crossley from La Trobe University and Stephanie Filbay from the University of Queensland was recently published in the Journal of Physiotherapy. It’s the first study of its kind to explore longer-term quality of life after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR) using a qualitative approach.

Associate Professor Ackerman is an experienced musculoskeletal researcher and orthopaedic physiotherapist with an interest in clinical and population-based research designed to quantify the personal and societal burden of conditions such as arthritis.

The team’s latest research found that activity preferences, lifestyle modifications, and fear of re-injury influenced quality of life in people with knee symptoms up to 20 years following ACLR.

“Exploring personal perspectives has provided new insights into trajectories of quality of life following ACLR,” said Associate Professor Ackerman.

“This allowed us to identify key points of transition, where intervention to facilitate positive lifestyle modifications could be most beneficial. What we identified was that people who found a way of returning to some form of regular exercise, such as replacing competitive sport with recreational exercise, tended to report better quality of life than those who did not exercise,” she said.

“Of particular concern is that people with a preference for competitive sport who did not enjoy recreational exercise appeared to be at greater risk for poor quality of life outcomes. These individuals could benefit from support to adopt a more physically active lifestyle, and physiotherapists are well-placed to provide advice regarding appropriate longer-term exercise and self-management after ACLR,” said Associate Professor Ackerman.

Anterior cruciate ligament rupture most commonly occurs in adolescents and young adults during competitive sport participation. Given high rates of ACLR in Australia, the potential for persistent knee-related difficulties and the likelihood of early-onset osteoarthritis, optimising longer-term outcomes after surgery is vital.

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