Randomised controlled trials dealing with the impact of WBV therapy on neuromuscular control after ACL reconstruction are scarce.
To assess the effects of adding an early whole-body-vibration protocol at optimal frequency (WBV-OF), to a traditional rehabilitation programme (TRP), in comparison with a TRP, on maximal strength and balance, after ACL reconstruction.
Thirty-four ACL reconstructed patients with hamstring-tendon graft underwent either 4 weeks of WBV-OF training in addition to a TRP, or to a TRP only, starting from the first month after surgery. Patients were assessed for maximal voluntary isometric strength during both knee extension and flexion and for balance on a force platform before, 1 month after treatment and at 3-month follow-up.
Strength symmetry of the knee flexor muscles (Figure 1) improved in WBV-OF+TRP patients more than in TRP patients 1 month after treatment (66 ± 15% vs 58 ± 13%), which was maintained also at the 3-month follow up (77 ± 15% vs 64 ± 15%), with no differences in balance improvements between the two groups after treatment (Figure 2).
Adding 4-weeks of WBV-OF to a TRP 1 month after surgery is effective in improving muscle strength of the knee flexor muscles. This early intervention may be incorporated into current rehabilitation to facilitate early strength recovery of ACL reconstructed patients
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