Orthopaedic surgeons and athletic trainers must monitor rehabilitation progress before clearing athletes to return to their practice routine or competition. Recovery can be documented by various strength, range-of-motion, and functional tests. Subjective measures of recovery include symptoms reported by the athlete and qualitative analyses of movement by sports medicine professionals. Athletes will often be asked to perform various movements of increasing demands, while the professional qualitatively evaluates the athlete's control of the injured limb. A couple of common functional tests for athletes with knee injuries are multiple hops for distance or time (Fitzgerald et al, 2001).

Imagine you are an athletic trainer working with an athlete rehabilitating an ACL injury in her right knee. You ask the athlete to perform a triple hop for maximum distance. The technique of the first hop is illustrated in Figure 12.4. As you measure the distance hopped, you go over the strengths and weaknesses in terms of the biomechanical principles of the hop in your mind. Later you will combine this assessment with the quantitative data. The distance hopped on the injured limb should not be below 80% of the unaffected limb (Fitzgerald et al., 2001). What biome-chanical principles are strengths and weaknesses, and what does a diagnosis of this hopping performance tell you about her readiness to return to practice? Biomechan-ical technique is just one aspect of many areas that must be evaluated in making decisions on returning athletes to play (Herring et al., 2002).

Most all biomechanical principles are well performed by this athlete. This athlete is showing good hopping technique with nearly Optimal Projection for a long series of hops. She shows good Coordination of arm swing, integrated with good simultaneous flexion and extension of the lower extremity. She appears to have good Balance, and her application of the Range-of-Motion and Force-Time principles in the right leg shows good control of eccentric and concentric muscle actions. There are no apparent signs of apprehension or lack of control of the right knee. If these qualitative observations are consistent with the distance measured for the three hops, it is likely the athletic trainer would clear this athlete to return to practice. The therapist might ask the coach to closely monitor the athlete's initial practices for signs of apprehension, weakness, or poor technique as she begins more intense and sport-specific movements.

Figure 12.4. An athlete doing a triple hop test.
Dealing With Back Pain

Dealing With Back Pain

Deal With Your Pain, Lead A Wonderful Life An Live Like A 'Normal' Person. Before I really start telling you anything about me or finding out anything about you, I want you to know that I sympathize with you. Not only is it one of the most painful experiences to have backpain. Not only is it the number one excuse for employees not coming into work. But perhaps just as significantly, it is something that I suffered from for years.

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