The Effectiveness of a Functional Knee Brace on Joint-Position Sense in Anterior Cruciate Ligament–Reconstructed Individuals

in Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
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It is estimated that approximately 350,000 individuals undergo anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction surgery in each year in the US. Although ACL-reconstruction surgery and postoperative rehabilitation are successfully completed, deficits in postural control remain prevalent in ACL-reconstructed individuals. In order to assist the lack of balance ability and reduce the risk of retear of the reconstructed ACL, physicians often provide a functional knee brace on the patients’ return to physical activity. However, it is not known whether use of the functional knee brace enhances knee-joint position sense in individuals with ACL reconstruction. Thus, the effect of a functional knee brace on knee-joint position sense in an ACL-reconstructed population needs be critically appraised. After systematically review of previously published literature, 3 studies that investigated the effect of a functional knee brace in ACL-reconstructed individuals using joint-position-sense measures were found. They were rated as level 2b evidence in the Centre of Evidence Based Medicine Level of Evidence chart. Synthesis of the reviewed studies indicated inconsistent evidence of a functional knee brace on joint-position improvement after ACL reconstruction. More research is needed to provide sufficient evidence on the effect of a functional knee brace on joint-position sense after ACL reconstruction. Future studies need to measure joint-position sense in closed-kinetic-chain fashion since ACL injury usually occurs under weight-bearing conditions.

Sugimoto, Micheli, and Kramer are with the Micheli Center for Sports Injury Prevention, Waltham, MA. LeBlanc is with the Dept of Physical Therapy, University of Massachusetts–Lowell, Lowell, MA. Wooley is with the Dept of Physical Education and Human Performance, Central Connecticut State University, New Britain, CT.

Address author correspondence to Dai Sugimoto at dai.sugimoto@childrens.harvard.edu.