Document Type

Case Report


Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Science

Degree Name

DPT (Doctor of Physical Therapy)

Session and Year of Graduation

Fall 2019


Frey Law, Laura


Introduction: Injury to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of the most common injuries in orthopedics and sports medicine. With nearly 200,000 injuries per year in the United States, 100,000 opt for reconstructive surgery. There are a variety of known graft choices including hamstring, patellar tendon, quadriceps tendon, IT band, and allogenous grafts. However, these options do not come without future complications. Regenerative medicine using stem cell therapies is becoming increasingly popular. Thus, the purpose of this case report is to highlight the use of stem cell therapies as an alternative treatment to traditional ACL reconstruction, and to provide insight to its associated physical therapy progression. Case description: The rehabilitation of a 26-year-old female with a grade III ACL tear that was less than one cm retracted with goals of returning to an active lifestyle is described. Outcomes: MR imaging was assessed at three months which indicated healing of the ACL. Lower Extremity Functional Scale (LEFS) scores increased from 23/80 to 68/80 over the course of 7 months. Other potentially useful outcomes measures are discussed. Discussion: Based on the current literature, regenerative medicine using stem cell therapies seems to be a promising alternative to surgical treatment of the ACL. Slight differences exist between rehab of the ACL treated with stem cell therapy vs traditional reconstruction. Although subjective reports of knee pain and function improve over time, more objective measurements to quantify ACL healing are needed. Future research aimed at determining long term effects of stem cell therapies is warranted.


Anterior cruciate ligament; knee; stem cell; mesenchymal stem cell; sports medicine; orthopedics; physical therapy; rehabilitation


10 pages


Copyright © 2019 Andrew Broderick