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Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 2006 Nov;14(11):1180-7. Epub 2006 Jun 9.

Improvement of posture stability by vibratory stimulation following anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Section of Human Physiology, University of Perugia, Perugia, Italy.


Surgical reconstruction of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) may reduce, but it does not always eliminate, knee and body instability because of a persisting proprioceptive deficit. In order to enhance body stability, a new protocol of treatment has been proposed consisting of mechanical vibration (100 Hz frequency and < 20 microm amplitude) of the quadriceps muscle in the leg that has undergone ACL reconstruction. In our trials, stimulation was performed when the quadriceps muscle was kept isometrically contracted. Treatment was started one month after surgery. Vibration was applied for short periods over three consecutive days. Nine months after treatment, postural stability was re-evaluated with the subjects standing on one leg with open and with closed eyes. The postural stability of the subjects having undergone vibration treatment, standing on the operated leg was significantly improved one day after treatment when evaluated as mean of speed and elliptic area of the center of pressure. The improvement persisted and increased during the following weeks. Peak torques of the operated leg extensor muscles also increased and reached values close to that of the leg, which had not been operated. Conversely, the balance of the untreated subjects standing on the operated leg did not improve and the restoration of the extensor muscle peak torque was poor. It is concluded that short lasting proprioceptive activation by vibration may lead to a faster and more complete equilibrium recovery probably by permanently changing the network controlling knee posture.

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