June 2016

ACL bracing study suggests subgroup of athletes most likely to be responsive

In the moment: Rehabilitation

By Jordana Bieze Foster

Preliminary findings presented in early June at the 2016 American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) meeting in Boston suggest there may be a subgroup of athletes who are most likely to respond positively to knee bracing after anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction.

Researchers from Virginia Tech in Blacksburg analyzed landing mechanics with and without a custom-fit functional knee brace during a stop-jump task in 20 adolescent athletes who had undergone ACL reconstruction six months earlier. All participants were asked to wear the brace on the injured limb during activities more dynamic than walking for four to six weeks prior to testing.

For the group overall, the brace condition did not differ significantly from the no-brace condition with regard to between-limb symmetry of knee angles, knee moments, or ground reaction forces (GRF). However, 12 participants experienced more symmetrical knee flexion with the brace than without; in those athletes, brace wear was also associated with greater GRF symmetry, according to Evan McConnell, MS, a graduate research assistant in the Department of Biomechanics at Virginia Tech, who presented the findings.

McConnell E, Queen R. Movement and loading symmetry changes when wearing a functional knee brace following ACL reconstruction. Presented at the 2016 annual meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine, Boston, June 2016.

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