A leading injury prevention, treatment and rehabilitation clinic is expanding its dedicated programme to specialise in ACL injuries.
London’s Isokinetic makes the move following the release of its co-founded research into hamstring injuries in professional female footballers across Europe.
The study – which features in the journal of Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology and Arthroscopy (May 2023) – unveiled 21 different risk factors over the 2020/2021 season.
It concludes that “most risk factors for hamstring injuries are extrinsic in nature and associated with the club, the team, and the coaching staff, and not the players themselves.”
The report cites; lack of regular exposure to high-speed football actions during training; playing matches 2 to 3 times per week; load on players; and lack of communication between medical staff and coaching staff.
Prevention is key
Dr Jesus Olmo, Isokinetic sports doctor and former Real Madrid CF medical director, said: “It is essential that as women compete in football in highly competitive and elite levels that we provide an infrastructure that is going to support them.
“We believe that prevention is key and it is crucial to assess players before they experience injury to better understand their unique movement patterns and strategise optimised ways of movement that will keep the individual healthy for longer. We are excited to bring globally recognised and technology advanced medical pathways to female athletes in the UK and Europe.”
Raising the expectations of conditioning and protection
Dr Matthew Stride, Isokinetic sports doctor and former club doctor, Brentford FC, said; “We need to protect our players! There are significant cultural, developmental and biomechanical differences in women’s football however this research is showing that the main contributing factor in women’s injury in elite sport is dependent on club and coaching staff and not on any factors around the player themselves.
“We’ve got a big job to do in raising the expectations of conditioning and protection of women players. They deserve better and we hope that this new dedicated programme can provide the support, foresight and protection that they need.”
Women’s injury programme
The women’s injury programme is based in a technologically advanced, doctor-led environment. Each patient journey starts with a doctor-led pathway beginning with a consultation with an expert sport science doctor who oversees ongoing treatment. The programme includes:
- Analysis with a doctor in the clinic’s biomechanical lab (Green Room) measures of neuromuscular control by understanding each player’s movement patterns with the Movement Analysis Test (MAT test)
- Targeted neuromotor training with augmented and real-time feedback on video-walls to optimise movements and neuromuscular control
- Additional tests include Threshold test and the Isokinetic test, to check the resistance to fatigue and muscle strength
- GPS tracking technology as a preventive measure to constantly track workloads throughout the entire competitive season and to have real data available, processed by a single device. Doctors can understand the work done by each athlete day after day, to better prepare a bespoke programme
- Treatment and technology are housed in an extensively equipped five-storey Harley Street facility with hydrotherapy pool, treatment rooms and gym
- The team rehabilitation mirrors a club environment providing a powerful mindset and mental health benefits to people with injury where patients will exercise with other professional athletes, ballerinas, rugby players and runners in a high-energy positive environment
The study was co-authored by Jan Ekstrand, Linkoping University, Sweden, the Football Research Group, Sweden, and Isokinetic Medical Group, London.