Two studies were carried out after anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction to determine the effect of a knee brace on coordination (test 1) and electromyographic muscle activity in drop jumps (test 2). Test 1 studied 25 patients with ACL reconstruction under three test conditions (one-leg static, two-legged static, two-legged dynamic) compared with a control (n=30). The results showed highly significant improvements in all braced conditions. In test 2 ten patients with ACL reconstruction and ten healthy subjects performed a two-legged drop-jump; this was repeated 15 times and again 15 times with a knee brace worn on the reconstructed limb. Changes in electromyographically determined muscle activity (vastus medialis, vastus lateralis, biceps femoris, gastrocnemius) were observed, but they were significant in only few cases because of high variability. Drop-jumps with knee brace improved jumping height, increased the maximum knee angle in the ground contact phase, and reduced the maximum knee angle in the landing phase. Patients thus develop an increased confidence in the stability of their knees. We conclude that the benefits of the knee brace are due to the mechanical action, an enhanced coordination, and a psychological effect.
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Rebel, M., Paessler, H. The effect of knee brace on coordination and neuronal leg muscle control: an early postoperative functional study in anterior cruciate ligament reconstructed patients. Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Art 9, 272–281 (2001). https://doi.org/10.1007/s001670100202