Surgeons have varying protocols regarding postoperative rehabilitation after cartilage restoration procedures. Range of motion is usually encouraged within the first week after all techniques to promote cartilage healing and prevent stiffness. Weight bearing is more heterogeneous and dependent on the procedure type and location along with surgeon preference. In general, weight bearing as tolerated is allowed immediately after chondroplasty. Full weight bearing in extension is typically tolerated within a week or two of a patellar cartilage procedure. Microfracture, MACI, and PJAC do not provide an immediate functional mature cartilage surface for loading require 6 weeks of protected weight bearing, followed by a progression to full weight bearing. Although there are no universal rehabilitation protocols, osteochondral autograft and allograft procedures generally allow for a more rapid return to full weight bearing. Some surgeons allow full weight bearing in the first 6 weeks, and most surgeons allow the return to full weight bearing by 6 weeks postoperatively.
J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2020;28(22):914-922. © 2020 American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons