[RESEARCH] 3 Simple Exercises for Better Leg Strength After ACL Surgery | Modern Manual Therapy Blog - Manual Therapy, Videos, Neurodynamics, Podcasts, Research Reviews

[RESEARCH] 3 Simple Exercises for Better Leg Strength After ACL Surgery

[RESEARCH] 3 Simple Exercises for Better Leg Strength After ACL Surgery - themanualtherapist.com

3 Simple Exercises for Better Leg Strength After ACL Surgery

The goal after an ACL reconstruction (ACLR) is to regain mobility and muscle function and ultimately to return to sports participation. Deficits in muscle function persist up to several years post-surgery, which is important to dynamic joint stability. Quadriceps strength is an important determinant for successful ACLRs The aim of the ACL-reconstruction surgery is to create a mechanically stable knee and the aim of the rehabilitation is to create a functionally stable knee.

Bieler et al. (2014) investigated whether ACLR patients, who perform high-intensity resistance training (HRT), will achieve greater leg extensor muscle power and knee function vs. low-intensity resistance training (LRT) without any negative effect on mechanical instability.

  • 38 ACLR patients completed a 20 week rehab program.
  • Strength program initiated 8 weeks for HRT group.
The HRT-program included bilateral and unilateral exercises:
  • Leg Press (from 90 to 0 degrees in knee).
  • Prone Leg Curls (0–90 degrees).
  • Seated Knee Extension (90–0 degrees).

  • Power in the injured leg was 90% of the non-injured leg, decreasing to 64% 7 weeks after surgery.
  • During the resistance training phase there was a significant group by time interaction for power.
Power was regained more with HRT compared to LRT without adverse effects on joint laxity:
  • Week 14 (84% versus 73% of non-injured leg)
  • week 20 (98% versus 83% of non-injured leg)
No other between-group differences were found.

  • High-intensity resistance training as part of early rehabilitation after ACLR may contribute to a faster recovery of leg extension muscle power compared with low-intensity resistance training without introducing any adverse effect on knee joint stability.
  • Most likely, the accelerated/amplified gains observed with high-intensity resistance training were caused by more marked neuromuscular adaptations and/or greater muscular regrowth induced by this training modality.
Bieler et al. 2014. BioMed Research International Volume 2014

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Dalton Urrutia, MSc PT

Dalton is a Physical Therapist from Oregon, currently living and running the performance physiotherapy clinic he founded in London for Grapplers and Strength & Conditioning athletes. Dalton runs the popular instagram account @physicaltherapyresearch, where he posts easy summaries of current and relevant research on health, fitness, and rehab topics. 
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