A new study carried out by researchers from the University of North Carolina, has revealed that women take longer than men to recover after ACL repair. This highlights the need for a different approach to be taken during recovery.
According to the research, men continue to see an improvement over time, whereas women’s results plateau. So, why could this be and what did the study reveal?
Understanding the latest study
Up until now, very little research has been carried out to determine the gender differences in ACL repair recovery. The new study analysed data from 218 young adults and adolescents, looking at patient-reported outcomes and quality of life.
Those who undergo ACL repair are known to be at an increased risk of developing osteoarthritis. It is also known that those with worse patient reported outcomes, also have worse biological indicators. These are both associated with an increased risk of developing osteoarthritis.
In total, 133 females and 85 males were included in the study. Data was assessed at 6, 12, 24, 36, 48, and 60 months after undergoing an ACL repair. In terms of quality of life related to knee osteoarthritis outcome scores, there were no significant differences recorded. However, males did show a steady improvement over time, whereas females experienced a plateau.
Why do females take longer to recover after ACL repair?
While the latest study did reveal differences in ACL repair between men and women, it didn’t reveal the cause. Previous research has suggested there may be differences in the psychology of recovery between male and female patients. It has also hinted that there may be biological factors at play too. However, further research needs to be carried out to identify the factors associated with a different outcome.
Within 5 years, women don’t experience the same level of improvement as men in terms of recovery. This suggests that time alone isn’t enough to aid in results, and that intervention may be needed for women who undergo an ACL repair.
The importance of an individualised rehab approach
One thing the latest study does highlight, is the need for an individualised rehab approach in patients. An ACL repair is one of the most effective ways to treat an ACL injury, but it does come with potential risks and complications that patients need to be aware of. To maximise results and improve patient outcomes, commitment to a full physiotherapy programme is key.
The role of physiotherapy in ACL injuries is to reduce pain, improve mobility, and help patients get back to their pre-injury fitness levels. It is tailored to each patient’s needs, ensuring the most effective recovery.
To receive the best treatment and improve your chances of a successful recovery after ACL repair, book a consultation with Mr Shah Punwar today.