Treating the ACL Better Than We Ever Have Before

Have you injured your ACL within the past 10 years? Do you get anxious about jumping or changing directions? Are you worried about going skiing on a holiday?

With our VALD ACL Performance Assessments, we can gather accurate and insightful information about the performance of your body. More specifically, if your injured or compromised knee is up to the task! These results will help you decide if taking the beginners ski slope is the safer choice. 

We are one of a few clinics in Queensland that possess this type of world-leading equipment. This makes us best equipped to advise and help you understand how your ACL injury affects your body and the ability to perform.

ACL Breakdown

The anterior cruciate ligament, better known as the ACL, is vital to the knee joint as it’s the main stabilising ligament of the knee. Its purpose is particularly important to activities that involve weaving, pivoting, bending and kicking. 

When a tear or rupture of the ACL is sustained, the knee can become unstable and with time the joint may become damaged. An ACL reconstruction is the surgical treatment to help restore stability to the knee. In some cases, injuries can be treated nonoperatively with a well-designed rehabilitation program. 

The main objective of ACL rehabilitation is to restore rotational joint stability for a successful return to sport, prevention of instability and long-term joint degeneration. Other goals of ACL rehab include regaining stability and reaching the best possible functional level.

In recent years, ACL rehabilitation has undergone considerable changes. Extensive research has been conducted into the biomechanics of injured and operated knees. This has led to a diversion away from techniques of the 1980s. These earlier techniques were developed and established around postoperative casting, delayed weight-bearing and limited range of motion. In the present-day, ACL rehabilitation programs are seeing immediate training in range of motion and weight-bearing exercises.

Unique Insights with VALD Performance Products

Returning to sport, or any type of physical activity after an ACL injury can be daunting and uncertain for some. Even years after injury, the ACL can still cause many people to worry about performing certain tasks, such as going skiing. The chance of reinjury is unlikely, however, unfortunately, most athletes are unable to regain their pre-injury level of performance. Understanding the risk factors associated with reinjury is important to be able to target and improve deficits throughout the rehabilitation program. It also provides the best possible chance of a successful return to the activities you love. 

Our QSMC Testing Centre, powered by VALD Performance, utilises products that are trusted by over 850 of the world’s most elite sporting teams, universities and defence departments. This unique equipment that has been long confined to laboratories, is now accessible in our clinic. Various tests can provide you and your practitioner with comparative quantitative results. We use this data to identify and understand weaknesses and the following neuromuscular control deficits that can be factors in an ACL re-injury:

  • Lower limb rotational control deficits 
  • Excessive frontal plane knee mechanics 
  • Hamstring, quadricep and hip strength deficits and asymmetries
  • Postural control and balance deficits 
  • Force production deficits and asymmetries in lower limb dynamic movements

These results will help you understand how, and if, your knee will perform in physical activity. If you’ve recently sustained an ACL injury, then these results will help your practitioner make more informed decisions about the right treatment pathway for you. Not only do these tests offer real-time feedback and results, but a professional and structured method for monitoring your improvement and progress.

Meet the VALD Equipment

We have four of the VALD Performance products in our testing centre: 

  • ForceDecks is one of the world’s fastest and most powerful dual plate systems that analyses neuromuscular strength, movement and balance. It’s a quick and easy test to assess body stability. 
  • The NordBord is a fast, accurate and reliable testing system used to measure the hamstring muscles. Specifically, it’s used to understand and improve hamstring strength, imbalance and injury risk. 
  • The ForceFrame device tests across the upper and lower body analysing isometric strength. It helps identify muscular strength, imbalance and is used to manage loading modulate pain and quantify rehabilitation progress
  • HumanTrack is the world’s first and analysis system. It assesses movement quality, range, balance and stability – such as if you’re twisting or leaning to one side of your body.

The Tests

Results from these tests help us advise on how to deal with ACL injuries better than we ever have before. We can identify the asymmetrical differences between your knees and whether you favour one side over the other. By comparing force production data and movement quality, we can better understand how your body performs. 

Depending on your injury timeline and capabilities, the tests we perform may vary between each person. Some of the tests we perform on each device are listed below.

ForceDecks

Sit to stand

If you’re unable to perform jumping movements, we will ask you to perform a sit to stand test. This test shows the amount of force you push through with each leg as you stand. The data identifies force and balance differences between the left and right sides.

Double leg and single leg countermovement jumps

These two sets of tests compare not only force production, but also jump performance measurements. The VALD results show statistics such as jump height and flight time. Specifically, when performing single-leg jumps, these stats will clearly show any differences or deficits you may have between your left and right leg.

Fatigue testing

To understand the effect that fatigue has on your force production and jump performance, we may instruct you to do a fatigue test. As an example, you may be asked to perform 10 double and single-leg repetitive jumps in a row.

HumanTrack

Using its 3D camera and motion capture system, the HumanTrack device provides information about your range of movement, quality of movement and differences between your right and left side. The device pinpoints and measures places at the joints of the lower limbs and pelvis. We may ask you to perform the following different function tests: 

  • Squat 
  • Single leg squat 
  • Jump squat 
  • Hopping

NordBord

Using the VALD NordBord device, you will perform a nordic hamstring test. The results identify the strength and force production of your hamstring muscles. It also compares your left and right side against each other and research data collected from specific sports athletes. 

Additionally, nordic hamstring testing is commonly done on those who have undergone a hamstring graft as part of their ACL reconstruction. It shows the difference in strength between your compromised and non-compromised hamstring muscles.

ForceFrame

The ForceFrame measures isometric strength across a variety of muscle groups, allowing for comparison between your left and right sides. It also shows the ratios of strength between different muscle groups which have been associated with injury risk. The ForceFrame is a versatile device that can be used for a range of tests. The most common ACL tests are:

  • Knee extension and flexion 
  • Hip abduction and adduction
  • Hip internal and external rotation

Our QSMC Testing Centre at our Gabba Clinic is now open every Saturday from 8 am – 12 pm for you to have a performance assessment. One of our Accredited Exercise Physiologist’s will be on hand to take you through the testing process. Your results and insights will be sent to you. If you’re currently being treated by any of our practitioners, they’ll also receive a copy of your results to go through with you in your next appointment. These unique assessments are only $60! To make a booking  please call our reception team on 07 3891 2000 to secure your Saturday spot.

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