Enda King, Head of Performance Rehabilitation at SSC, discusses the Components of ACL Rehabilitation.

Enda has responsibility for looking after the ACL and GROIN programmes as well as the residential athletes that stay at the clinic. Currently finishing his PHD in Biomechanics in ACL reconstruction, he reveals that when his team analyse an athlete, they do so by breaking them down in to their component parts.

Anatomy, posture, static vector alignment, motor patterns and motor neuron control all play a part in determining the rehabilitation, while on top of that the team also look at the strength, power and the rate of force development, a secondary measure for return-to-sport decisions after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction.

All these methodologies are combined to develop a multi-directional and planar activity is driven sport-specific programme.  Using 3D biomechanical analytics, the team not only assess the kinetics around each joint but also how the joints interact with each other.

Starting with single plan movement patterns, hoping and landing, before progressing those in terms of the depth of the jump and the power of the landing.

Currently, there are huge overlaps in prevention, rehabilitation and performance enhancement. The prevention and rehabilitation process, which involves an analysis of the athlete’s functional movement, are designed to help the joints interact allowing them to progress from the gym setting to the field of play.

The performance enhancement is aimed at not only restoring them to optimal biomechanical performance ensuring that their rehabilitation and prevention measures include the ability to move at high speed, take high challenges and manage multi-directional movements. It’s about re-educating those movement patterns before letting the athlete back to play

While the technological advancements ensure that prevention and rehabilitation have evolved, there is a no-shoes fits all approach to their science.

According to King, initial data gathered from athletes shows variability no degree of predictability from the time of surgery to a return to action further reinforcing the belief timeline lead progression through ACL rehabilitation is flawed and the need for individual programmes for athletes.

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