Purpose: To explore the effect of blood flow restriction training (BFRT) on the recovery of knee function in patients after arthroscopic partial meniscectomy (APM).
Methods: Forty patients undergoing APM surgery were included in this parallel group, two-arm, single-assessor blinded, randomized clinical trial. The subjects were randomly divided into two groups: routine rehabilitation group (RR Group, n = 20) and routine rehabilitation + blood flow restriction training group (RR + BFRT Group, n = 20). One subject in each group dropped out during the experiment. All patients received 8 weeks of routine rehabilitation starting from the second day after APM. In addition, patients in the RR + BFRT group required additional BFRT twice a week. Visual analogue scale (VAS) score, range of motion (ROM), one-leg standing test (OLST) score, Lysholm knee score, quadriceps muscle strength, quadriceps thickness, and thigh circumference were evaluated at preoperative, postoperative, 4 and 8 weeks after surgery. SPSS 25.0 software was used for statistical analysis of the data. Repeated measures ANOVA was used if the data were normally distributed and had homogeneity of variance. Generalized estimating equations were chosen if the data were not normally distributed or had homogeneity of variance.
Results: There were no significant differences in VAS score, ROM, OLST score, Lysholm knee score, quadriceps muscle strength, quadriceps thickness, and thigh circumference between the two groups before surgery ( p > 0.05). Compared with postoperative, VAS score, ROM, OLST score, Lysholm knee score, and thigh circumference were significantly improved in the RR group ( p < 0.05), while quadriceps muscle strength and quadriceps thickness were not significantly enhanced at 8 weeks postoperatively ( p > 0.05). However, VAS score, ROM, OLST score, Lysholm knee score, quadriceps muscle strength, quadriceps thickness, and thigh circumference were all significantly improved in the RR + BFRT group at 8 weeks postoperatively ( p < 0.05). Furthermore, compared with the RR group, VAS score (50% vs. 86%), ROM (7.9% vs. 16.0%), OLST score (57.3% vs. 130.1%), Lysholm knee score (38.4% vs. 55.7%), relative peak torque (11.0% vs. 84.7%), mean power (20.6% vs. 88.1%), rectus femoris thickness (0.40% vs. 13.0%), vastus medialis (0.29% vs. 5.32%), vastus lateralis (0% vs. 6.2%), vastus internus (0% vs. 5.8%), and thigh circumference (2.7% vs. 5.8%) in the RR + BFRT group were significantly improved at 4 and 8 weeks postoperatively ( p < 0.05).
Conclusion: BFRT combined with routine rehabilitation training can better promote the recovery of knee joint function in patients after APM, especially the improvement of quadriceps muscle strength and thickness.