Understanding Whole Body Vibration Therapy After ACL Surgery
ACL reconstruction surgery is a surgical procedure used for reconstructing the ligament in the center of the knee, which usually keeps the tibia in place. When this ligament gets damaged from everyday wear and tear, or due to an injury, it can sometimes cause pain and prevent one from physical activities or certain movements.
Typically, to reconstruct the ligament, tissue from the patient’s body (called “autograft”) or from a donor (called “allograft”) is taken and put in place of the damaged tissue. If you don’t have this surgical intervention, the knee may feel and become unstable, raising the chances for a more significant injury such as a meniscus tear.
ACL reconstruction surgery is generally completed for:
Patients whose knees feel unstable during daily activities
Who accuse pain and instability during sports activities
Who have injuries of the ligaments surrounding the knee
When the meniscus is torn.
Even though it is often necessary, ACL reconstruction is not an enjoyable experience as recovery may take for up to 6 months, as a result, an individual's ability to perform routine, day to day and sports activity can be affected for a very long time.
It is mainly for this reason, scientists wanted to figure out whether there is any form of physical activity that can be performed during the recovery phase without causing side effects, to help speed up the recovery process.
Whole Body Vibration Therapy With ACL Surgery
Given that Whole Body Vibration is thought to provide comparable benefits to conventional strength training, researchers from Germany wanted to figure out whether using a Whole Body Vibration Machine can indeed benefit patients with anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction just like regular recovery exercises.
In this study, researchers used a custom designed Whole Body Vibration Machine protocol, the purpose being to test the hypothesis that Whole Body Vibration Therapy exercises can actually lead to incredible short-term results in terms of:
...when compared to conventional rehabilitation exercises.
Researchers also wanted to see whether this method would be more time-efficient than normal recovery programs.
For this study, 40 participants who underwent ACL reconstruction were enrolled in the program, and randomly assigned to either a Whole Body Vibration Machine or a standard rehabilitation exercise protocol. Each group consisted of 20 participants who began the exercises in the second week after surgery, but also underwent traditional physical therapy on the first day after surgery.
The Whole Body Vibration Therapy for muscle strengthening exercises were performed 5 times per week in both groups, and lasted up to the 11th week after surgery.
For the control group, the sessions lasted an average of 80 minutes, and included a short warm-up, then a round of stretching exercises and 20 minutes of balance exercises. After these, the strength-building exercises were performed, and the routine was ended with a cool-down.
The Whole Body Vibration group also did a warm-up and a stretching exercise routine, then 20 minutes of Whole Body Vibration Machine exercises for strengthening their muscles, and ended with 5 minutes of cool-down exercises similar to those performed by the control group.
Even though the time spent by the participants who were assigned to the Whole Body Vibration group was reduced to less than half, there weren’t statistically difference in results, and as a result, the Whole Body Vibration Machine group performed better in the stability test. No side effects were registered and the exercises were safe for the vibration group.
Overall, the Whole Body Vibration Machine training protocol was less time consuming and more efficient, so it could be an outstanding alternative to traditional rehabilitation exercises for patients who undergo ACL reconstruction surgery.
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