Rupture, reconstruction, and rehabilitation: A multi-disciplinary review of mechanisms for central nervous system adaptations following anterior cruciate ligament injury.
BACKGROUND: Despite surgical reconstruction and extensive rehabilitation, persistent quadriceps inhibition, gait asymmetry, and functional impairment remain prevalent in patients after anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury. A combination of reports have suggested underlying central nervous system adaptations in those after injury govern long-term neuromuscular impairments. The classic assumption has been to attribute neurophysiologic deficits to components of injury, but other factors across the continuum of care (e.g. surgery, perioperative analgesia, and rehabilitative strategies) have been largely overlooked. OBJECTIVE: This review provides a multidisciplinary perspective to 1) provide a narrative review of studies reporting neuroplasticity following ACL injury in order to inform clinicians of the current state of literature and 2) provide a mechanistic framework of neurophysiologic deficits with potential clinical implications across all phases of injury and recovery (injury, surgery, and rehabilitation) RESULTS: Studies using a variety of neurophysiologic modalities have demonstrated peripheral and central nervous system adaptations in those with prior ACL injury. Longitudinal investigations suggest neurophysiologic changes at spinal-reflexive and corticospinal pathways follow a unique timecourse across injury, surgery, and rehabilitation. CONCLUSION: Clinicians should consider the unique injury, surgery, anesthesia, and rehabilitation on central nervous system adaptations. Therapeutic strategies across the continuum of care may be beneficial to mitigate maladaptive neuroplasticity in those after ACL injury.
Criss, CR; Melton, MS; Ulloa, SA; Simon, JE; Clark, BC; France, CR; Grooms, DR
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