A new study finds that for people who experience an ACL injury, part of their brain rewires—fundamentally changing how it processes information from an injured knee.
Through an MRI scan, researchers at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center were able to see in real time that people who had suffered ACL injuries relied mostly on visual cues when moving their knee and didn’t move it as naturally or instinctively as those who had not been injured. The results suggest a new approach for recovery.
“We think those changes play a big role in why people who recover from ACL injuries don’t trust their knees entirely and tend to move them differently,” said Jimmy Onate, PhD at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and lead researcher of the study. “It’s like walking in the dark, you don’t walk as fast, you don’t move as confidently.”
To help patients overcome dependence on visual cues, Dr. Onate and his team are using special strobe glasses and other techniques during physical therapy that interrupt the visual processes. The goal is to force the brain to use other senses and potentially rewire back to their original state.
Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center