Rehabilitation after ACL reconstruction surgery can be a tough road. It takes time and patience to recover mobility and strength. In this article professional basketball player, Chelsea Poppens outlines 5 Benefits of EMG in rehabilitation after an ACL Surgery.
#1: Enhances Knee Extension and Muscular Strength
For those that don’t know, there are several important obstacles when recovering from an ACL reconstruction surgery. One of the most important is reaching full knee extension. Another is regaining the strength and size of the muscles surrounding the knee. Early in the recovery process, the goal is to get inside quadriceps muscle (vastus medialis) contracting. Interestingly, studies have shown that patients experience better knee extension and increased strength when using EMG biofeedback. When used in the early stages of rehabilitation there is faster improvement when compared to patient’s who didn’t use EMG.
#2: Provides Feedback to Patient and Physical Therapist
Physical therapists have ACL patients complete exercises involving contracting and holding quadriceps muscle taunt repeatedly until fatigue. So, while EMG can be used to help a patient relax specific muscles, many physical therapists use it to monitor which muscles are firing and at what rate. The sensor displays the level of muscle tension with every attempt targeted on a specific muscle group. The goal for the patient is to get that quad muscle contracted and hold it at a certain level each time for a specified amount of time.
#3: Makes Boring, Monotonous Rehab Exercises More Fun!
This device helps rehab become more interactive, game-like, and accomplishment driven. If you’ve ever gone through physical therapy for an injury, you understand how repetitive each visit can get. With every visit, your motivation and interest in doing the exercises required dwindles. By using an EMG device, therapists can help those monotonous rehab exercises be more interactive and game-like to the patient, keeping them more focused on reaching a visible, attainable goal. When intrinsic motivation isn’t enough, extrinsic motivation is a good way to keep the ball rolling.
#4: Allows Patient and Therapist to Track Progress
EMG helps people destress and relax stressed muscles, while also helping patients and therapists keep track of exercise progress. Therapists use EMG to show how fast certain muscles fatigue, which gives the patient some feedback on how their rehab is improving and progressing throughout the weeks. The Resility sEMG device discussed below, allows therapists to record and download that data to analyze down the road.
#5: A Valuable Addition to Conventional Therapy Practices
The Resility Bluetooth Muscle Activity Sensor (EMG) can help small to large muscle groups in a variety of cases. It is wireless and includes disposable adhesive electrodes that attach to specific muscles. Its 8-hour battery life allows it to be used on multiple patients throughout the day without the hassle of needing to be recharged. When considering the price and looking at studies conducted, the Resility sEMG can be an invaluable asset to the overall well-being and recovery of your patients. Because when it comes to physical therapy, you want to be able to look back to see how far you’ve come.
Christanell, Franz, et al. “Electromyographic Analysis of Quadriceps Fatigue After Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction.” Sports Medicine, Arthroscopy, Rehabilitation, Therapy & Technology: SMARTT, BioMed Central, 2012, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3582470/.
<h2> About the Author </h2>
Chelsea Poppens is a professional athlete from the state of Iowa. She has a B.S. in Kinesiology with an emphasis in pre-physical therapy from Iowa State University. She also holds an MBA from the University of Florida.
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