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Posted on 19 December 2009
Have you ever experienced nagging pain that interferes with your ability to participate in sport or your daily activities?

Toronto SEMI has introduced a relatively new treatment system called the Biodex to our clients. This machine helps to assess and treat muscle weaknesses at varying speeds which can help to rehabilitate and prevent many aches and pains related to sports and activities. This machine is also useful in treating repetitive strain injuries and recurrent injuries that seem to never fully heal.

Who uses the Biodex and how can it help me?

Toronto SEMI is one of the few clinics in the GTA that has the Biodex system available for our clients. The Biodex has been an effective diagnostic and rehabilitation tool. It provides an accurate reading of force and power produced by different muscle groups. If there are deficiencies or muscle imbalances found at varying speeds, they can then be addressed as part of your treatment.

The Biodex can also be used to improve pre-season conditioning and training. These findings are used to enhance pre-season conditioning, better preparing an athlete for competition. A Biodex assessment includes graphs and charts with findings that indicate the athlete's strengths and weaknesses.

This preventative method for using the Biodex can be beneficial to anyone who is starting to train for a specific sport, race, or activity in the pre-season. Furthermore, it is great for helping an athlete maintain their strength and power during the season.

How does an assessment work?

At SEMI, an initial Biodex assessment is performed in order to analyze the muscle strengths and weakness for different joints (knees, ankles, shoulders) through varying speeds.

With each Biodex assessment, the therapist is able to compare an injured area to the non-injured side as a baseline measurement. A print-out of the assessment is given to the client and can be used as a reference to compare the progress throughout the rehabilitative program.

The therapist then uses the findings of the assessment to design a treatment program in order to correct any deficiencies. A Biodex treatment plan can help to develop the power, endurance and strength required to achieve the client's desired goal.

How long does treatment last?

A treatment plan usually consists of two to three treatment sessions per week. A re-assessment is usually scheduled in 4-6 weeks time, depending on the injury.

SEMI Clinical Example:

A 17 year old soccer player came into the clinic after dislocating his right knee cap (patella) during a fall in soccer. As a result, the strength in his quadricep muscles was significantly weakened so much that initially he could not keep his leg straight and lift it off of the treatment table.

After 4 weeks of physiotherapy for pain management, range of motion and strengthening exercises, a Biodex assessment was performed. The initial Biodex assessment showed that his quadriceps and hamstrings on the right were on average 15% weaker at slow to intermediate speeds than his non-injured left side. The soccer player, being right foot dominant, was required to strengthen the right leg to at least surpass the left leg strength by 5-10% to return to sport safely.

After completing 4 weeks of training on the Biodex and integrating a home exercise strengthening and balance program, the soccer player regained 25% and 10% of his quadricep and hamstring strength, respectively.

6 weeks later the right leg strength was 8 % greater than the left leg in all the velocities therefore achieving the intended treatment goal. The client returned to soccer and continued to perform his home exercises for balance, strength and flexibility as a maintenance program.

Finally, it is important to note that the Biodex is used as an adjunct to treatment through a multidisciplinary treatment approach. In combination with physiotherapy and regular sports medicine doctor follow-ups, the above soccer player was referred for a podiatric consult to assess the need for orthotics, as optimal foot mechanics contribute to normal knee cap function.

If you have a recurrent injury or pain that is inhibiting your ability to perform an activity or sport, call SEMI for a Biodex assessment, or ask your physiotherapist or sports medicine doctor about the Biodex machine and its uses.


John Orchard, John Marsden, Stephen Lord, David Garlick. Preseason Hamstring Muscle Weakness Associated with Hamstring Muscle Injury in Australian Footballers. The American Journal of Sports Medicine 25:81-85 (1997)
Jean-Louis Croisier, Sebastien Ganteaume, Johnny Binet, Marc Genty, Jean-Marcel Ferret. Strength Imbalances and Prevention of Hamstring Injury in Professional Soccer Players: A Prospective Study . The American Journal of Sports Medicine 36:1469-1475 (2008)
Mikkelsen C, Werner S, Eriksson E. Closed kinetic chain alone to combined open and closed kinetic chain exercises for quadriceps strengthening after ACL reconstruction with respect to return to sports: a prospective matched follow-up study. Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology Arthroscopy. 2000; 8; 337-42.


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