No Benefit of Post Operative Bracing after ACL Surgery
Post operative immobilization is often utilized after ACL surgery in an attempt to support the knee joint. The reasoning behind the bracing includes reducing abnormal forces across the knee, patient comfort, and reducing the risk of injury to the recently repaired tissues. Research has currently not found a strong benefit of early post operative bracing for patients undergoing ACL surgery.
A recent article was published in the Annals of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation analyzing the effects of early post operative knee bracing in patients status post ACL surgery (Bordes et al. 2017). Authors analyzed 969 patients over a two year period who underwent ACL surgery for complications and brace use. Brace use was categorized as rigid brace, limited range of motion brace, or no brace conditions. The authors reported no beneficial effect of bracing in the first month after ACL surgery, but reported greater loss of range of motion among patients using a rigid brace. Based on this article, post operative bracing may be best utilized based on a patient's presentation and preferences versus being utilized across the board in all patients undergoing ACL repair.