Continuous Passive Motion, Early Weight Bearing, And Active Motion Following Knee Articular Cartilage Repair: Evidence For Clinical Practice

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Jennifer Howard, Assistant Professor, PhD (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site:

Abstract: Objective: To systematically review the literature regarding postoperative rehabilitation for articular cartilage repair: (1) Does the use of continuous passive motion (CPM) enhance healing, and if so, what parameters should be applied? (2) Can active range of motion (AROM) be used in place of or with CPM? (3) When can individuals safely resume weight bearing (WB) following repair? Data Sources: A search using Medline, SportsDiscus, and CINAHL databases was performed with the following keywords: articular cartilage, AROM, CPM, microfracture, osteochondral allograft, autologous chondrocyte implantation, rehabilitation, weight bearing, and knee. Study Selection: Basic science or clinical outcomes examining the effects of CPM, AROM, or WB on knee articular cartilage healing. Data Extraction: Selected articles were rated using the Strength of Recommendation Taxonomy (SORT) to determine evidence for clinical application. Data Synthesis: Sixteen articles met selection criteria: 12 were basic science studies; 4 were clinical studies. Basic science evidence supporting CPM exists. However, few patient-oriented outcomes have been documented resulting in a SORT rating of C. Early WB and AROM received a SORT rating of B based on limited clinical research and patient-oriented outcomes. Conclusions: Basic science evidence supports CPM to maintain ROM, reduce pain, and promote healing. Patient-oriented research is needed to strengthen CPM’s recommendation. Limited evidence exists regarding early WB and AROM post cartilage repair. There is insufficient evidence to confidently address when to begin WB for maximum healing. Appropriate basic science and patient- oriented research are needed for rehabilitation protocols to maximize benefits of cartilage repair procedures.

Additional Information

Howard, J. S., et al. (2010). "Continuous Passive Motion, Early Weight Bearing, and Active Motion following Knee Articular Cartilage Repair: Evidence for Clinical Practice." CARTILAGE 1(4): 276-286. Publisher version of record available at:
Language: English
Date: 2010
chondrocyte, microfracture, autologous transplantation, knee surgery, rehabilitation

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