Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) ruptures are one of the most common injuries faced in sport. The recovery outcomes following ACL injuries are less than ideal and actually present quite unsatisfactory, with lower than optimal return to sport rates and high re-injury risk.
Why is this?
It’s hard to specifically pinpoint without history, analysis of what’s occurred on multiple levels and performing assessments etc, however, i’d say it probably stems from movement.
Disruption to the ACL and surrounding knee complex after an injury will lead to mechanical instability of the knee, which in turn can alter neuromuscular control, somatosensory input and joint proprioception.
This all directly affects how you consciously and subconsciously move, which is why correctly re-training functional patterns of movement is vital. This is also why movement quality diminishes after injury opposed to pre-injury. As such, targeting the restoration of normal movement patterns is one of the priorities during rehabilitation and requires both uni and bilateral exercises. Strength [as well as various loading techniques] is also essential in determining movement quality.
Movement Quality – is the task too difficult?
Regaining symmetrical motion and appropriate movement strategies is imperative in order to reduce risk of re-injury and improve function. To do this, there needs to be a means of monitoring limb alignment during functional tasks. Inability to maintain alignment may indicate the task is potentially too challenging.
Ready to make an appointment?
Not quite? Carry on with the article below >
Strength – are you strong enough to do the task?
The ability to perform functional tasks is dependent on the neuromuscular systems ability to produce force (e.g., strength). Various tasks will place differing loads on movement, both in terms of your whole system, as well as your joint specific systems (e.g., knee dominant or hip dominant movements).
Inability of the neuromuscular system to produce or accept force may result in either movement compensations and/or acceptance of passive loading via tendinous, joint, ligament, and potential joint overload.
Initially, what can you do?
Firstly seek help from an accredited professional who can educate and take you through correct rehabilitation processes and physical preparation to return to sport optimally and reduce risk of re-injury. Secondly it is extremely important to recover normal walking gait and range of motion. Abnormal gait patterns have been associated with muscle weakness, decreased functional performance, low patient satisfaction with outcome after surgery and postoperative complications. Normal gait biomechanics cannot occur without normal joint motion and so the restoration of joint range of motion is essential to target the restoration of optimal gait.
Movement is priority.