Table 1

Baseline characteristics stratified by management strategy at 2-year follow-up, and ACL healing status as visualised on MRI at 2 years after acute ACL injury

Rehab alone at 2 years (no ACLR)Rehab + ‘delayed ACLR’ within 2 years (n=24)‘Early ACLR’ + Rehab (n=62)
Evidence of ACL healing (n=16)Non-healed ACL (n=14)
Age, mean (SD) years26.9 (4.7)25.7 (5.1)25.5 (4.8)26.3 (5.1)
Male sex, n (%)11 (69)11 (78)16 (67)50 (81)
Weight, mean (SD) kg75 (16)79 (11)72 (9)78 (13)
Height, mean (SD) cm176 (8)180 (6)175 (6)178 (8)
Current or former smoker, n (%)4 (25)5 (38)6 (25)20 (33)
History of contralateral ACL injury, n (%)3 (19)0 (0)1 (4)10 (16)
Concomitant meniscal injury, n (%)7 (44)8 (57)10 (42)39 (63)
Meniscal surgery before 2-year follow-up4 (25)6 (43)12 (50)30 (50)
KOOS4, mean (SD)39 (14)37 (11)35 (12)37 (16)
Pre-injury Tegner, mean (SD), (median IQR)8 (1) (9, 7–9)8 (1) (9, 7–9)8 (1) (8, 7–9)8 (1) (9, 7–9)
Rehabilitation visits mean (SD), (median IQR)33 (10) (34, 28–40)45 (33) (29, 17–78)76 (38) (68, 41–97)63 (37) (56, 40–80)
Anterior tibial stump dislocation on MRI1 (6)1 (8)7 (35)N/A
 Missing MRI data (n)135N/A
  • The Anterior Cruciate Ligament OsteoArthritis Score (ACLOAS) was used to classify ACL healing based on MRI findings at 2-year follow-up; ‘Evidence of ACL healing’ = score of 0 to 2 (0=normal ligament with hypointense signal and regular thickness and continuity; 1=thickened ligament and/or high intraligamentous signal with normal course and continuity; 2=thinned or elongated but continuous ligament); ‘non-healed ACL’ = score of 3 (3=Absent ligament or complete discontinuity); Meniscal surgery before 2 year follow-up includes meniscal surgery at baseline, at the time of ACLR, and at any timepoint before 2-year follow-up; baseline MRIs were not graded in the early-ACLR group.

  • ACL, anterior cruciate ligament; ACLR, ACL reconstruction; KOOS, Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score; N/A, not applicable.