The relationship between patient expectations and functional outcomes in patients undergoing cartilage repair of the knee: A mixed methods study

Jenny L. Toonstra, Dana Howell, Robert A. English, Christian Lattermann, Carl G. Mattacola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Context: Patient expectations have been shown to be a major predictor of outcomes. Fulfilled expectations have been linked to increased patient satisfaction and rehabilitation adherence. Expectations may be influenced by a variety of factors, including patient characteristics, preoperative function, or disease characteristics. It is currently unknown what factors may influence patient expectations prior to cartilage repair of the knee, and to what degree. Furthermore, understanding the importance and values of those expectations for recovery using mixed methods has not previously been conducted in this patient population. The purpose of this mixed methods study is to examine and explore the relationships between patient expectations and functional outcome in patients undergoing cartilage repair of the knee. Design: A mixed methods design was used. Methods: Twenty-one patients scheduled to undergo cartilage repair of the knee were included. Participants completed the Hospital for Special Surgery Knee Surgery Expectations Survey and the Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score at their preoperative visit. Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Scores were also obtained at 3 and 6 months postsurgery. A selected sample of 6 participants participated in semi-structured interviews 6 months postsurgery. Pearson correlation coefficients were used to determine relationships between expectations and functional outcome. Results: Patients have moderate expectations for recovery, and these expectations were positively associated with preoperative pain, activities of daily living, and quality of life. Expectations also correlated with symptoms 3 months postsurgery, but there were no other significant correlations between preoperative expectations and postoperative function in the short term. Four qualitative themes emerged as participants described how previous recovery experiences shaped their expectations. Conclusions: Formalized patient and caregiver education, prehabilitation, and the use of psychological skills during rehabilitation may help to manage patient expectations and provide more focused and individualized care, thus improving outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1038-1046
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Sport Rehabilitation
Issue number7
StatePublished - Sep 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Human Kinetics, Inc.


  • Chondral lesion
  • Physical therapy
  • Recovery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


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