The ACL Club
Ireland’s incredible victory last Saturday came with a hefty price tag for one of the Warriors that ultimately slayed the New Zealand team. An ACL Injury.
I winced as I saw Jordi’s knee buckle. His attempt to chase down a quick line out throw by the Kiwis ended with a nasty rotation.
To the casual observer, this was an innocuous slip. In the world of sports medicine and Chartered Physiotherapy the alarm bells were ringing!
The pitch side medical team probably knew this was an ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) injury if they saw the mechanism of injury. Foot planted combined with an awkward rotation meant that the incredible force an athlete like Murphy can produce exceeded the ability of the ligament to withstand it.
The ultimate effect is a tear of the ligament and effectively an unstable knee.
As the physios rushed on, they are probably asking Jordi for any tell tale signs to confirm what they intuitively know. Did you hear a pop (a nice way of asking have the bones in the knee smacked loudly together?) Where are you sore? – Normally everywhere!
So what’s happening in the initial few minutes of this injury in the majority of ACL injuries?
Extremely painful usually only for a few minutes. This is followed by a Large swelling as the knee joint fills with blood from the ligament tear.
There are some clinical tests that can be performed on the pitch in the first few minutes. These will assist a diagnosis and give the medical team a very good idea of the extent of the damage.
It’s highly likely that Jordi had rapid access to an MRI scan in the US – possibly in the Soldier Field stadium. This produces a superb image of the joint and will provide lots of information on any damage to other structures in the knee.
Jordi will need an ACL reconstruction. We’re fortunate in Ireland to have several outstanding knee surgeons to perform this work. That’s only the start of the journey. All good surgeons will emphasise to their patient that the rehab post surgery is crucial in a full recovery and return to sport.
The role of an experienced chartered physiotherapist becomes essential in the daily routine of recovery. Knowing what to do and when to do it is critical in protecting the repair and building strength in the surrounding knee muscles.
Jordi has a long road ahead of 9-12 months of hard work post surgery. He will do very well as everything is in his favour – age, background, fitness, attitude & motivation to name a few ingredients.
Like so many others before him – Conor McGregor, Peter O’Mahony, Luke Fitzgerald to name a few. Jordi is now a member of the dreaded ACL club. But he will bounce back like the others all managed so successfully.
For a Physiotherapy consultation with Personal Health’s Director of Physiotherapy, Ronan Fallon – Ring 01 4964002