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WBV, Effective in Rehabilitation after ACL Reconstruction

10th September 2014

Short duration vibration training has been proven to be safe and effective in strengthening the muscles and bones, improving the posture and proprioception and the flexibility of joints and muscles.

Exercises performed on a vibration machine at low amplitudes and low frequencies act similarly to a massage session, relaxing the body, relieving muscle tension and improving circulation and lymphatic drainage.

At higher frequencies, however, vibration training activates muscle reflexes and forces the muscles to contract and relax in a similar manner to conventional strength exercises. Therefore, this form of physical activity can be successfully used as part of a strength training routine or even as replacement for conventional strength training.

But what about rehabilitation? Is vibration exercise safe for people who underwent surgical procedures, are recovering from fractures or muscle injuries, or are suffering from chronic conditions? We’ve previously discussed the effects of whole body vibration in people recovering from stroke and in COPD patients, Duchenne muscular dystrophy and diabetic neuropathy, as well as to speed up recovery from fractures.

New studies show that besides these beneficial effects, vibration training can also be a safe solution for people recovering from anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction.

WBV exercises, effective as rehabilitation method after ligament reconstruction


Recently, German researchers from the Department of Sports Science and Motology at the Philipps University in Marburg, respectively from the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, showed that Whole Body Vibration exercises can be a practical and reliable alternative to standard rehabilitation exercises, in people who underwent ACL reconstruction.

The purpose of their clinical trial was to test the effectiveness of vibration training in improving neuromuscular performance and in facilitating rehabilitation after ligament reconstruction. Their study, published in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, investigated the effects of WBV versus a standard exercise protocol after ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) reconstruction.

40 patients underwent a WBV rehabilitation program, respectively a standard exercise protocol, the neuromuscular performance and muscle strength being investigated in week 2, 5, 8 and 11 after surgery. Although there was no significant difference in the isokinetic or isometric strength, the WBV group displayed better results in the stability test. Moreover, time spent exercising was reduced to less than a half in the group performing whole body vibration exercises.

We can therefore conclude that vibration training is not only equally effective, but also less time-consuming than conventional rehabilitation exercises, and should be further explored as alternative to standard exercise protocols.

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