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Improving Quadriceps Control and Strength after Surgery

A recent systematic review published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine investigated treatments for arthrogenic muscle inhibition following anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction surgery. Quadriceps muscle inhibition (the inability to contract the muscle above your knee) is a common symptom following knee surgery in general. This is the result of neural inhibition of the joint sensory receptors, altered spinal reflexes, and abnormal cortical activity. Quadriceps weakness can result in knee extension range of motion deficits, gait abnormality (limping), and dynamic instability.  The results of the review indicated progressive strengthening exercise, hamstring exercise to fatigue, and cryotherapy (icing) had the highest quality of evidence in the treatment of arthrogenic quadriceps inhibition. Neuromuscular electrical stimulation had low quality of evidence and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation(TENS), vibration therapy, and ultrasound had very low quality of evidence. There was no evidence to support the use of active release techniques, bracing, or taping for quadriceps muscle inhibition.

For access to the full article, click on the link below.

The physical therapists at Omaha Physical Therapy Institute are well trained in recognizing and treating quadriceps muscle inhibition following knee surgeries including ACL reconstruction, total knee joint replacement, and arthroscopic knee surgery.  Call Omaha Physical Therapy Institute today to schedule an appointment!

Marc Hunley, PT


Sonnery-Cottet B, et al. Br J Sports Med 2018;0:1–11. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2017-098401


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