Sports injury and orthopaedic rehab at Balance Performance Physiotherapy
If you’re unfortunate enough to suffer an Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) rupture as Lucas Leiva did last week – the Brazil international will miss the rest of the season having injured his left knee during Tuesday’s Carling Cup quarter-final victory at Chelsea – as a professional footballer reconstructive surgery is essential to return to the game.
If you’re not a pro but the injury results in your knee continuing to irregularly give way, an operation to reconstruct the ACL is really your only option, especially if you aspire to have an active lifestyle. At Balance of course we actively encourage you to ask for more and expect more from yourself. However whether pro athlete or not the operation is only effective if followed with quality rehabilitation executed with discipline and patience. Ensure your rehab guides you far enough down the road for you to achieve a complete recovery, give you absolute confidence to return to your sport and has provided you with resilience to future injury (either to the same knee or another structure that becomes vulnerable due to inadequate rehab). Of course there is no such thing as invulnerability in a human but to reiterate – you should be asking more of yourself and more of your physio or sports therapist. Do not pull up short!
Hamstring grafts are the grafts of choice these days but patella tendon grafts can also be used and do well.
Weeks 1-9 also focussed on straight line strengthening
Weeks 8-10 introducing rotational control quickly adding impact control
Week 12 should see slow running commence
Weeks 12-24 should be more intensive physiotherapy rehabilitation
Week 20 introducing base level sports activities
Return to sport at 5-6 months and contact sport soon afterwards.
This timeline is dependant on the quality of rehab, the individuals discipline and motivation, their unique circumstances and complications.
Most surgeons would like to see their work relatively protected for 9 months post op.
Balance got world class judo player Winnie Gordon competing in European champs at 5.5 months but that is rare. He went in to surgery on with a good level of preinjury knee strength which gave him a useful functional reserve.
Like every injury ones success is dependent on quality of training, movement, control and motivation.
At Balance we use tools that provide results, consequently we have a vast array of “toys” to work on specific weaknesses identified in our clients. There are some tools that we use over and over again, equipment that makes rehab more effective for a variety of reasons. one such reason is the ability to introduce something as early within the rehab process as possible to familiarise a client with the tool and also because we use equipment that is scalable – it can be used with more or less intensity depending on the stage of development a client has achieved.
For example Trigger Point Performance Therapy (TPT) and Alter-G partial weight bearing treadmill are used at very early stages in ACL rehab, CrossCore180 and kettlebells arent far behind. We make use of all of our available space: in Clapham and Fulham we have 1,000s of square feet of space to utilise and matted areas for essential ground work.
When an individual has focussed on prevention (prehab) prior to their current injury (remember there is no such thing as invulnerable) their subsequent recovery is much faster. Such prehab involves a mindful approach to movement skills, joint mobility, intelligent recovery following practice/training/competition: sports massage, self massage (Trigger Point Performance Therapy), hydration and nutrition, good quality sleep, stress management (mental and emotional).
As for Lucas, he and Liverpool are now considering when last season’s player of the year should undergo surgery.