Effect of Stretching Combined With Ultrashort Wave Diathermy on Joint Function and Its Possible Mechanism in a Rabbit Knee Contracture Model

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ObjectiveThe aim of this study was to investigate the therapeutic effect of stretching combined with ultrashort wave on joint contracture and explore its possible mechanism.DesignThirty-two rabbits underwent unilateral immobilization of a knee joint at full extension to cause joint contracture. At 6 wks after immobilization, the rabbits were randomly divided into the following four groups: natural recovery group, stretching treatment group, ultrashort wave treatment group, and combined treatment group. For comparison, eight control group animals of corresponding age were also examined. The effect of stretching and ultrashort wave treatment on joint contracture was assessed by measuring the joint range of motion, evaluating the collagen deposition of joint capsule and assessing the mRNA and protein levels for transforming growth factor β1 in the joint capsule.ResultsThe combined treatment group led to the best recovery of joint function. The combined treatment with stretching and ultrashort wave was more effective than stretching or ultrashort wave treatment alone against the synovial thickening of suprapatellar joint capsule, the collagen deposition of anterior joint capsule, and the elevated expression of transforming growth factor β1 in the joint capsule.ConclusionsStretching combined with ultrashort wave treatment was effective in improving joint range of motion, reducing the biomechanical, histological, and molecular manifestations of joint capsule fibrosis in a rabbit model of extending joint contracture.

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