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The use of electrical stimulation during the immobilization period allowing anterior cruciate ligament surgery

1 May 1989


Ten patients undergoing surgery of the anterior cruciate ligament were assigned to two groups. One group received electrical stimulation and isometric exercise during the post-surgical immobilization period, and the other group received isometric exercise during the same period. On day one of physical therapy electrical stimulation was discontinued. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of electrical stimulation on strength, atrophy of the quadriceps, incidence of patellofemoral syndrome (PFS), and length of rehabilitation time. Isometric quadricep strength was measured at twelve weeks post-operatively on both the involved and uninvolved sides, and comparisons were made. Girth measurements were taken at 2, 6, and 8 inches above the patella at surgery, and then again on day one of physical therapy. The incidence of patellofemoral syndrome was recorded for both groups. There was no statistically differences between the groups for any of the above factors. Therefore the results of this study indicate that ES combined with exercise during the immobilization period following ACL surgery, had no greater effect than exercise alone in retarding strength loss, decreasing number of rehabilitation days, decreasing atrophy, or decreasing the incidence of patellofemoral syndrome.


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