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  • 1.
    Arumugam, Ashokan
    et al.
    Department of Physiotherapy, College of Health Sciences, University of Sharjah, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates.
    Björklund, Martin
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation, Section of Physiotherapy. Centre for Musculoskeletal Research, Department of Occupational Health Sciences and Psychology, Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, University of Gävle, Gävle, Sweden.
    Mikko, Sanna
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation, Section of Physiotherapy.
    Häger, Charlotte K.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation, Section of Physiotherapy.
    Effects of neuromuscular training on knee proprioception in individuals with anterior cruciate ligament injury: A systematic review and GRADE evidence synthesis2021In: BMJ Open, E-ISSN 2044-6055, Vol. 11, no 5, article id e049226Article, review/survey (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Objective: To systematically review and summarise the evidence for the effects of neuromuscular training compared with any other therapy (conventional training/sham) on knee proprioception following anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury.

    Design: Systematic Review.

    Data sources: PubMed, CINAHL, SPORTDiscus, AMED, Scopus and Physical Education Index were searched from inception to February 2020.

    Eligibility criteria: Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and controlled clinical trials investigating the effects of neuromuscular training on knee-specific proprioception tests following a unilateral ACL injury were included.

    Data extraction and synthesis: Two reviewers independently screened and extracted data and assessed risk of bias of the eligible studies using the Cochrane risk of bias 2 tool. Overall certainty in evidence was determined using the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) tool.

    Results: Of 2706 articles retrieved, only 9 RCTs, comprising 327 individuals with an ACL reconstruction (ACLR), met the inclusion criteria. Neuromuscular training interventions varied across studies: whole body vibration therapy, Nintendo-Wii-Fit training, balance training, sport-specific exercises, backward walking, etc. Outcome measures included joint position sense (JPS; n=7), thresholds to detect passive motion (TTDPM; n=3) or quadriceps force control (QFC; n=1). Overall, between-group mean differences indicated inconsistent findings with an increase or decrease of errors associated with JPS by ≤2°, TTDPM by ≤1.5° and QFC by ≤6 Nm in the ACLR knee following neuromuscular training. Owing to serious concerns with three or more GRADE domains (risk of bias, inconsistency, indirectness or imprecision associated with the findings) for each outcome of interest across studies, the certainty of evidence was very low.

    Conclusions: The heterogeneity of interventions, methodological limitations, inconsistency of effects (on JPS/TTDPM/QFC) preclude recommendation of one optimal neuromuscular training intervention for improving proprioception following ACL injury in clinical practice. There is a need for methodologically robust RCTs with homogenous populations with ACL injury (managed conservatively or with reconstruction), novel/well-designed neuromuscular training and valid proprioception assessments, which also seem to be lacking.

    PROSPERO registration number CRD42018107349.

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