Background: Despite rehabilitation training, deficiency in knee joint position sense, muscular performance, postural control, and functional ability is common after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR). Whole-body vibration therapy (WBVT), which is initiated from 3 months postoperatively, has proven benefits. However, the effect of earlier WBVT is unknown.
Purpose: To investigate the effect of early WBVT on neuromuscular control after ACLR.
Study design: Randomized controlled trial; Level of evidence, 1.
Methods: A total of 48 patients with unilateral complete isolated ACL tears were recruited. Single-bundle hamstring ACLR was performed in all patients. After surgery, they were randomly assigned to either the reference or treatment group. Reference group patients received conventional ACL rehabilitation, while treatment group patients received 8 weeks of WBVT in addition to conventional rehabilitation, starting from 1 month postoperatively. Joint position sense, postural control, and knee isokinetic performance were assessed before surgery and at 1, 3, and 6 months postoperatively using the Biodex dynamometer, Biodex Stability System, and Cybex NORM, respectively. Knee range of motion (ROM), stability (manual testing and KT-1000 arthrometer), and functional ability (single-legged hop test, triple hop test, shuttle run test, and carioca test) were also examined. Two-way repeated-measures analysis of variance and the Mann-Whitney U test were used for statistical analysis.
Results: There was no complication throughout the rehabilitation. All patients achieved full knee ROM and stable knee joints at 6 months after surgery. The WBVT group demonstrated significantly better postural control, muscle performance, single-legged hop, and shuttle run (P < .05) than the reference group, but there was no significant difference in knee joint position sense, triple hop, carioca, ROM, and stability (P > .05).
Conclusion: Early WBVT started from 1 month postoperatively was an effective training method without compromising knee ROM and stability. It improved postural control, isokinetic performance, single-legged hop, and shuttle run but not knee joint position sense, triple hop, and carioca.