Snehal Patel - The Evolution of Rehabilitation & Return to Sport Following Cartilage Surgery

blood flow restriction cartilage cartilage surgery cautious progression force attenuation force plate testing jump height landing mechanics loading progressions monitoring motion capture non-operative management operative management psychological aspect quad activation range of motion rehabilitation return to sport strength testing strength training swelling May 19, 2024


Episode 146: In this Research Unpacked Episode from Inform Performance, Dr Dylan Carmody chats to Snehal Patel the Clinical Supervisor for Sports Rehabilitation at Hospital for Special Surgery NYC. The main focus of the conversation is on his paper titled 'The Evolution of Rehabilitation and Return to Sport Following Cartilage Surgery.' Snay explains the differences between operative and non-operative management of cartilage injuries and the importance of strength training in the rehabilitation process. Snay also discusses BFR, the psychological aspect of returning to sport and the use of force plate testing and motion capture to assess jump height, landing mechanics, and force attenuation.


Topics Discussed 


  • Operative vs. Non-Operative Management of Cartilage Injuries
  • Range of Motion & Loading Progressions in Post-Surgery Rehabilitation
  • Psychological Aspect of Returning to Sport
  • Assessing Jump Height, Landing Mechanics & Force Attenuation
  • Staying Updated on Emerging Surgical Techniques



  • Cartilage surgery is a viable solution for patients with focal cartilage lesions who want to stay active and avoid knee replacement.
  • Rehabilitation protocols for cartilage surgery have evolved over time and now focus on progressive weight bearing and strength training.
  • Range of motion and loading progressions are important in post-surgery rehabilitation, with specific considerations for the location of the graft site.
  • Blood flow restriction can be used as an adjunct in rehabilitation to strengthen the quadriceps in an unloaded position.
  • Managing swelling after surgery is crucial, and a balance must be struck between loading the knee and avoiding excessive inflammation. Quad activation and reducing swelling are crucial in the rehabilitation of cartilage patients.
  • Cautious progression and monitoring of swelling are necessary throughout the rehab process.
  • The psychological aspect of returning to sport is significant for cartilage patients.
  • Strength testing plays a vital role in the decision-making process for return to sport.
  • Force plate testing and motion capture can provide valuable insights into jump height, landing mechanics, and force attenuation.
  • Clinicians should stay updated on emerging surgical techniques and treat cartilage patients with a modern approach.


Where you can find Snehal:




VALD Performance, makers of the Nordbord, Forceframe, ForeDecks and HumanTrak. VALD Performance systems are built with the high-performance practitioner in mind, translating traditionally lab-based technologies into engaging, quick, easy-to-use tools for daily testing, monitoring and training.


TeamBuildr: A platform for any coach in any setting. Every day, thousands of coaches log into TeamBuildr to write training programs, build questionnaires and access athlete and client performance data. Teambuildr is a complete platform. Whether you're building your own programming, looking to create custom reports or give athletes a tool for accountability, they've built it out.