The Basas Spanish Squat: Superimposition of Electrical Stimulation to Optimize Patellar Tendon Strain: A Case Series.
Basas C, Ito N, Grävare Silbernagel K, Reyes-Gil F, Basas Á.
Background: The Basas Spanish Squat with electrical stimulation (E-stim) has shown promising results as a potential key exercise in treatment of athletes with patellar tendinopathy. Gold standard exercise therapy for tendon injuries consists of tendon loading exercises, or exercises that appropriately applies high levels of mechanical strain to the tendon. The theoretical pathway in which the Basas Spanish Squat with E-stim improves tendinopathy has been speculated to be the additional strain applied through the patellar tendon during superimposition of E-stim. This theory, however, has yet to be confirmed.
Purpose: The purpose of this case series was to compare patellar tendon strain, during the Basas Spanish Squat with, and without E-stim, and open kinetic chain knee extension.
Methods: Four healthy participants performed the three exercises while a physical therapist collected simultaneous unilateral ultrasound images from the patellar tendon. Strain was calculated as the change in patellar tendon length during contraction divided by the resting length.
Results: Amongst all participants, patellar tendon strain was smallest during the Basas Spanish Squat without E-stim, followed by the open kinetic chain knee extension at 60% maximum voluntary isometric contraction. The Basas Spanish Squat with E-stim yielded approximately double or more strain compared to the without E-stim condition and demonstrated higher level of strain compared to open kinetic chain knee extension in all participants.
Conclusion: The findings reflect a clear trend of increased strain through the patellar tendon when E-stim was superimposed. The results support the theory that the Basas Spanish Squat with E-stim increases patellar tendon strain and could explain the reported clinical benefits in individuals with patellar tendinopathy.
Level of Evidence: 4, Case series