Novel application of lower body positive-pressure in the rehabilitation of an individual with multiple lower extremity fractures
Judit Takacs, Jeff R.S. Leiter, Jason D. Peeler
Objective: Lower extremity fractures, if not treated appropriately, can increase the risk of morbidity. Partial weight-bearing after surgical repair is recommended; however, current methods of partial weight-bearing may cause excessive loads through the lower extremity. A new rehabilitation tool that uses lower body positive-pressure is described, that may allow partial weight-bearing while preventing excessive loads, thereby improving functional outcomes.
Methods: A patient with multiple lower extremity fractures underwent a 6-month rehabilitation programme using bodyweight support technology 3 times per week, post-surgery.
Results: The patient experienced a reduction in pain and an improvement in ankle range of motion (p = 0.002), walking speed (p > 0.05) and physical function (p = 0.004), as assessed by the Foot and Ankle Module of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Lower Limb Outcomes Assessment Instrument. Training did not appear to affect fracture healing, as was evident on radiograph. The effect of lower body positive-pressure on effusion, which has not previously been reported in the literature, was also investigated. No significant difference in effusion of the foot and ankle when using lower body positive-pressure was found.
Conclusion: Initial results suggest that this new technology may be a useful rehabilitation tool that allows partial weight-bearing during the treatment of lower extremity injuries.
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