KNEE INJURY PREVENTION MEETS SPORTS ENHANCEMENT
Serious season ending knee injuries are on the rise in the United States. The risk factors of such injuries are well documented in medical literature. Intrinsic anatomical factors and hormonal influences and as well as many other variables are thought to contribute to knee injuries. These are variables that we cannot control as coaches and clinicians. Due to this, it is imperative to turn our focus to the extrinsic variables that can be modified and adapted through training that have been shown to contribute to serious knee injuries.
It is estimated that 90% of catastrophic knee injuries occur from non-contact mechanisms in sports. This usually occurs when athletes are changing direction, cutting, pivoting or landing from a jump. Faulty biomechanics with such activities are usually the blame. Over the last 20 years, a wealth of research has been focused on non-contact knee injury prevention. Research as proven that prevention programs focusing on landing and cutting mechanics drastically decrease the incidence of significant knee injuries as well as improve athletic performance. Physio Pro took this information into account and developed our “Impact” program. Since its inception in 2002, we have run hundreds of recreational and professional athletes through this program. The program can be completed on both an individual and team basis. After collaborating with Steve Traina MD (Team Physician for the Denver Nuggets) in 2007, Biomet Sports Medicine contacted, filmed and released portions of the program in DVD and digital format.
Individual programs are tailored at Physio Pro. These sessions consist of an orthopedic/biomechanical screening using the Functional Movement Screen (https://www.functionalmovement.com/system/fms) . This screening allows the clinician to identify problem areas in flexibility, strength and neuromuscular control which increase the susceptibility to injury. This is individual to every athlete. No two athletes move the same. This is the best way to really assess and predict serious biomechanical problems before they lead to injury. During this eval we also perform an analysis of the athletes jumping technique. After this evaluation we give our athletes a specifically tailored program targeting their deficiencies. Follow-up sessions can then be utilized to progress interventions and optimize the athletes performance.
Team sessions are also an option. With these sessions, Physio Pro pulls from their experience of the common deficiencies we have observed in thousands of hours of working with injured athletes. These sessions are very easy to add to any practice and will focus on a dynamic warm-up, functional strengthening, agility exercises and plyometric training. These interventions are ideally performed at the beginning of practice. These sessions are run by your coaching staff and coordinated through the movement experts at Physio Pro. 15-20 minutes per practice is all that in necessary to take the steps in reducing the likelihood of injuries this season.
Research has demonstrated that with a specific 6-8 week training program athletes increase their vertical jump height, decrease harmful landing forces at the knee, as well as increase muscular power and explosiveness. Our Impact athletes return to their sports stronger, faster and more confident in their knees than athletes who simply partake in traditional training or rehabilitation regimes. This program is perfect for jumping and cutting sports like basketball, volleyball and soccer. The goal of Impact is the prevention of serious knee injuries by enhancing neuromuscular control and proprioception. Training over 8 weeks with sound mechanics allows the motor memory of the body to adapt and to then utilize good safe dynamic movement patterns. These movements then become intuitive for the athlete and automatic with practice.
In addition, athletes who have unfortunately sustained macrotrauma to a knee requiring surgical intervention including anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction have been shown to benefit from the program in the later stages of rehabilitation (usually 12-16 weeks post-op). Most of our participants not only return to their previous level of competition, but often make gains in their strength, speed, power and vertical jump that exceed their pre-injury status.