A randomized trial of isokinetic versus isotonic rehabilitation program after arthroscopic meniscectomy

Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2012 Feb;7(1):31-8.


Background: Although both isotonic and isokinetic exercises are commonly used in the rehabilitation of patients after arthroscopic meniscectomy no studies have compared their effect on strength recovery and functional outcomes.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of two rehabilitation programs (isotonic and isokinetic) on muscle strength and functional performance after partial knee meniscectomy. A secondary purpose was to assess the correlation between isokinetic strength deficits and hop test performance deficits.

Methods: Twenty male patients who underwent arthroscopic partial meniscectomy volunteered for the study. Both isotonic and isokinetic training were performed with the same equipment thereby blinding subjects to the mode of exercise. Main outcome measures were collected on the 14th and 33rd postoperative days and included isokinetic strength of the knee extensors and flexors, functional performance (single, triple, and vertical hopping) and the Lysholm questionnaire. Multivariate and univariate analyses of variance were used to assess the effects of the independent variables on the isokinetic variables, functional tests, and Lysholm score. Pearson's correlation was used to assess the relationship between isokinetic strength deficits and functional performance deficits.

Results: Isokinetic measures, functional tests, and the Lysholm score all increased between initial and final assessment (p≤0.003). However, there were no group or group*time effects on any of the outcome variables (p≥0.33). Functional tests were better predictors of isokinetic deficits in the 14(th) compared to the 33(rd) postoperative day.

Conclusion: No differences were found in the outcomes of patients treated using an isokinetic and an isotonic protocol for rehabilitation after arthroscopic meniscectomy. More than half of patients did not meet the 90% criterion in the hop tests for safe return to sports five weeks after meniscectomy. There were correlations between the hop tests and isokinetic deficits two weeks after meniscectomy but not at the fifth week.

Level of evidence: 1b.

Keywords: functional tests; isokinetic; isotonic; partial meniscectomy.