Context:

Rehabilitation after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR) is challenging for adolescent patients concurrently experiencing growth and development, changes in attitudes and social interactions, and a gradual shift toward independence.

Objective:

Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the perceptions of information sharing and interpersonal communication among adolescent patients going through ACLR, their parents, and physical therapist (PT) treating adolescent patients with ACLR.

Design:

Qualitative Study

Setting:

University-affiliated sports medicine clinic

Patients or Other Participants:

Nine adolescent patients who had recently completed physical rehabilitation after ACLR, one of their parents, and PTs who treat adolescent patients with ACLR were recruited and enrolled.

Data Collection and Analysis:

Participants completed semi-structured interviews. The interview scripts for patients, parents, and PTs intentionally addressed the same topics, with only minor modifications in wording as appropriate for each role. All interviews were recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed using a hybrid of deductive/inductive coding by trained members of the study team.

Results:

Patients, parents, and PTs perceived that interpersonal dynamics (e.g., communication, external motivation) and stakeholder knowledge (e.g., understanding of psychological consequences of injury) influenced intrapersonal experiences (e.g., emotional response, intrinsic motivation) during rehabilitation after ACLR. Additionally, patients and parents indicated that a lack of information about the rehabilitation process hindered their ability to gather additional information from the PT and surgeon.

Conclusions:

Participants from all stakeholder groups reported that orthopedic surgeons and other members of the healthcare team may consider being more consistent when setting expectations, physical restrictions, and recovery timelines.

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