The Kneehab XP Quadriceps Therapy System is more effective for increasing knee extensor muscle strength after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction than standard rehabilitation or conventional neuromuscular electrical stimulation, according to a German study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine.
Researchers at Center for Knee and Foot Surgery in Heidelberg followed 96 patients following ACL reconstruction. Patients were randomly assigned to one of three intervention groups: standard rehabilitation (control group), traditional NMES, or the Kneehab system. The Kneehab XP system, made by Minneapolis-based Neurotech, is a garment-based NMES device designed specifically to treat quadriceps weakness.
Extensor strength in the Kneehab group at speeds of 90°/sec and 180°/sec increased by 30.2% and 27.8% respectively between the pre-operative measurement and the six-month follow-up point in the injured leg.
The corresponding measurements for traditional NMES were 5.1% and 5%; for the control group the measurements were 6.6% and 6.7% respectively.
The time taken to return to work reflected a positive trend in favor of the Kneehab group as well: on average, the Kneehab group returned to work in 2.7 weeks, the control group in 3.67 weeks, and the traditional NMES group in 3.88 weeks.
The findings were e-published in late February and will be printed in the June issue of AJSM.
“This important study gives irrefutable evidence of Kneehab’s viability and efficacy in treating the post-ACL repair patient,” said Conor Minogue, technical director of research & development for Neurotech. “The improvement measured over the control group and the conventional, two-channel NMES group is compelling for any clinician with an ACL caseload.”