What’s New in Orthopaedic Rehabilitation

Every month, JBJS publishes a Specialty Update—a review of the most pertinent and impactful studies published in the orthopaedic literature during the previous year in 13 subspecialties. Here is a summary of key findings from studies cited in the November 19, 2014 Specialty Update on orthopaedic rehabilitation:

General Orthopaedics

  • Among geriatric hip fracture patients, those who received comprehensive postsurgical care (including a multidisciplinary assessment of health, function, and social situation) had significantly more upright time and better Short Physical Performance Battery scores than counterparts who received hospital physiotherapy and conventional care.
  • Seventy-two percent of 51 orthopaedic inpatients exceeded their target goal for prescribed partial weight bearing after being trained. The inability to comply with the training was not associated with poorer outcomes at three months, suggesting clinical support for less-restrictive weight-bearing protocols.
  • A prospective study of 38 unilateral TKA patients revealed that results from squatting exercises more accurately predicted overall functional difficulties than did results from standing with increased weight.
  • A prospective randomized trial among 36 patients who underwent primary ACL reconstruction with semitendinosus-gracilis autograft found no difference in knee laxity, peak isometric force, or subjective IKDC scores between those who had aggressive early rehabilitation versus those undergoing a nonaggressive protocol.

Pediatric Rehabilitation (focused on cerebral palsy patients)

  • Among 100 young children with cerebral palsy, the development of mobility and self-care was faster in children with less severe levels as assessed with the Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS). A separate assessment study supported the validity of the Patient Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) Mobility Short Form.
  • Results from two gait-analysis studies suggested that using gait analysis in planning interventions for children with cerebral palsy can lead to beneficial alterations in gait.

Amputation and Prosthetics

  • A study comparing functional outcomes after two types of unilateral transtibial amputation (modified Ertl and modified Burgess procedures) found no significant between-group differences.

Spinal Cord Injury

  • A study to assess the safety and efficacy of ReWalk (a lower-limb powered exoskeleton) among 12 patients with motor-complete thoracic spinal cord injury found that all subjects were able to walk independently and continuously for at least 50 to 100 meters. No falls were reported, but a few adverse events related to pressure and irritation occurred.

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