Faculty Advisor(s)

Amy J. Litterini

Document Type

Course Paper

Publication Date



© 2015 Chelsea Hussey


Background and Purpose: Patellar fractures followed by open reduction internal fixation (ORIF) surgery can cause numerous impairments which can negatively impact a person’s ability to participate in normal daily activities. Quadriceps weakness is common following this type of injury and surgery, and the literature reflects varying opinions as to what is the best method for regaining strength. Previous studies have examined the use of neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) in conjunction with traditional exercises on quadriceps strength following surgeries such as a total knee arthroplasty (TKA), but there is limited research involving patients status post (s/p) ORIF following a comminuted patellar fracture. The purpose of this case report was to document the use of NMES in conjunction with traditional exercises for strengthening the quadriceps following atrophy s/p ORIF surgery for a comminuted patellar fracture. Case Description: The patient in this case report was a 28 year-old female s/p left comminuted patellar fracture and ORIF surgery presenting to physical therapy (PT) with quadriceps weakness among other impairments. She was treated with NMES in addition to traditional land and aquatic quadriceps strengthening exercises approximately three times per week for three weeks. Outcomes: The patient’s quadriceps manual muscle testing (MMT) score improved from 3+/5 (slightly greater than fair) at initial examination to 4/5 (good) three weeks later. Discussion: These findings suggest that NMES in conjunction with traditional quadriceps strengthening exercises may have had the ability to improve quadriceps strength in this individual s/p comminuted patellar fracture and ORIF surgery. Research is needed to validate the outcome of this intervention in this patient population.


The case report poster for this paper can be found here:




To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.