Effect of Early Whole-Body Vibration Therapy on Neuromuscular Control After
Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction: A Randomized Controlled Trial

CLA, Yung SHP, Law KYB, Leung KHH, Lui PYP, Siu KH, & Chan KM.  American
Journal of Sports Medicine.

2013, E-pub ahead of print. DOIL 10.1177/0343546513476473

Home Message: Whole body vibration therapy may improve strength and postural
control among post-ACL reconstruction patients as an adjunctive therapy to

Deficits in strength, proprioception,
and postural control are often evident post anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)
reconstruction and can last from 6-months to 4-years post-surgery.  Whole-body vibration therapy (WBVT) improves
balance and postural control in many populations, and if introduced early after
an ACL reconstruction it may help avoid the previously mentioned deficits.  Therefore, the purpose of this randomized
trial was to compare the effectiveness of early WBVT plus conventional
rehabilitation with isolated rehabilitation on knee proprioception, functional
performance, postural control, and peak torque among 48 participants post-ACL
surgery.  The patients assigned to the
WBVT group started WBVT 1 month post ACL-surgery and completed the treatment 2
times a week for 8 weeks.  A blinded
therapist assessed postural control, function, peak torque, and joint position
sense at baseline, 3-months, and 6-months post-surgery.  The groups had similar position sense
throughout the rehabilitation process. 
WBVT participants scored better in postural control tests with eyes
closed at 3- and 6-months post-surgery, as well as generated greater peak
torque at 6-months post-surgery in the quadriceps and hamstrings.  WBVT participants also performed better during
functional testing – shuttle run and single legged hop test – at 6-months

Introducing early WBVT along with
traditional rehabilitation may improve patient outcomes at least to 6 months
post-surgery.  However, it is unclear
whether or not this benefit is from the additional time the WBVT group exercised
compared with the control group or specifically the WBVT.  It would be interesting to continue to follow
these participants out to later time points to see if they plateau earlier or
have fewer complications in the long-term. 
The authors admitted that one important limitation was not assessing
patient’s perceived outcomes and function. 
It would have been interesting to capture this information to see if one
group suffered more feelings of pain, stiffness, or disability.  Lastly, it would be interesting to see if
WBVT has any affect on return to play timeframe, confidence, fear of reinjury,
or performance overall.  Despite these
lingering questions, this trial provides some support for the short-term
benefits of early WBVT among patients after an ACL reconstruction. However, the
use of WBVT requires access to a machine capable of delivering this type of
therapy.  Has anyone had any experience
utilizing a machine like this as an adjunctive therapy for ACL reconstruction
patients?  What are your thoughts about
potentially integrating this into your clinical practice?     

by: Nicole Cattano
by: Jeffrey Driban

Fu CL, Yung SH, Law KY, Leung KH, Lui PY, Siu HK, & Chan KM (2013). The effect of early whole-body vibration therapy on neuromuscular control after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction: a randomized controlled trial. The American Journal of Sports Medicine, 41 (4), 804-14 PMID: 23460328