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Theo Walcott Ruled Out With An ACL Injury


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Theo Walcott Ruled Out With An ACL Injury

Author : Dave Regis   Top Author

Submitted : 2014-01-09 07:50:21    Word Count : 952    Popularity:   Not Rated

Tags:   knee support, knee brace

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Theo Walcott, a key Arsenal ad England player was ruled out for six months earlier this week having suffered an Anterior Cruciate Ligament injury, one of the worst knee injuries a footballer can suffer from what seemed a somewhat inconspicuous tackle.

The injury itself will rule Walcott out for the remainder of the Premier League season and the 2014 World Cup in Brazil which is a massive blow to club and country with Arsenal progressing well in all competitions and England setting a high target for the summer.

What is an ACL Injury?

The ACL is one of the main ligaments within the knee joint and is responsible for the overall stabilisation of the joint, allowing a person to run and jump, two key elements for any professional footballer. The ligament itself is a tough band of tissue which joins the thigh bone to the shin bone at the knee joint.

The injury occurs where the lower leg extends forwards too much, with varying degrees of severity and recovery time from rest to surgery. In Walcott's case he twisted his knee when falling to the ground, with the lower leg extending forward and thus tearing the ligament.

The knee joint itself is the meeting place of three bones in that of the femur (thigh bone), tibia (shin bone) and patella (knee cap) which are in turn connected by four different ligaments. Two collateral ligaments reside on the side of the knee joint whilst two cruciate ligaments sit within the joint itself which are the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) and Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL) named by their location of either being at the front or back of the joint respectively.

How common is an ACL injury?

Around 40% of all ACL injuries occur from sporting activities, typically as a result of high impact sports such as skiing, snowboarding and football. The twisting of the knee can sometimes trigger a tear or rupture of the ACL as a result of the unnatural movement whether from a challenge or a player getting their foot caught in the turf.

Over the years many high profile footballers have been ruled out with ACL injuries from Michael Owen to Van Ginkel from Chelsea who is currently out of action with the same injury and is not expected to return until June 2014.

There is little a footballer can do to prevent an ACL injury due to the regulations on the use of a knee support during a match. If you consider other high impact sports such as snowboarding and wakeboarding many participants opt to wear a rigid knee brace to help protect the joint and ligaments from any unnatural movements. The rigid braces are sometimes manufactured from carbon fibre and therefore are designed to help protect against injury from impact damage as well as minimising the risk of the knee joint rotating following a fall.

Surgical Treatments

Surgery is required for some of the more severe forms of injury, especially where footballers are concerned such as Theo Walcott. In surgery the ligament is stitched back together which requires an extensive period of physiotherapy thereafter to strengthen the knee joint and ensure that a player can get back to full fitness.

Footballers are typically out of action for 6 months following ACL surgery, though it can take up to 12 months to get back to full fitness depending on your circumstances. Physiotherapy and strengthening exercises are essential post surgery to ensure that you have the strength to compete at the highest level of football.

The main factor in deciding on surgery is you and your quality of life, whether you are able to perform the tasks you need to do or whether the stabilisation of the knee joint is compromising this. As with any injury, failure to have it addressed and remedied can result in further damage long term.

Non-Surgical Treatments

Even for more severe ACL injuries there are non-surgical solutions such as a strengthening the quads. By strengthening this muscle you are able to compensate for the lack of stabilisation in the knee joint thereby delaying or even removing the need for surgery.

For less severe forms of the injury then rest is the best solution, with ice being used to help manage any inflammation encountered. Following initial rest strengthening exercises are essential to help the ligament before returning to action.

A knee support can also be used to offer additional support following an injury. There are two types of knee brace in that of a prophylactic and post injury option. The former has been discussed in the form of a rigid ligament knee brace which protects the joint against either an initial injury or subsequent injury in the future. These are typically worn by those undertaking extreme sports. A post injury knee support is manufactured from compressive material, designed to help manage inflammation during recovery. The main purpose of a knee support is to allow an individual to return to action sooner with the confidence of knowing their knee is protected.

Final Words on Theo Walcott

Such an injury will be very difficult to accept for Theo Walcott, especially in a World Cup year for a player who can make a huge difference to the national team on the pitch, but he will be back and ready for action next season.

Football clubs invest heavily in physio and training and rehabilitation to ensure that when a player is out of action through injury they can get them back on the pitch faster and fitter than before. They will utilise a number of different techniques from surgery, physiotherapy and the use of a knee support to aid recovery so whilst Theo might be out of action he will be well looked after and we wish him a speedy recovery.

Author's Resource Box

Dave Regis discusses the use of orthotics for the management of sports injuries, reviewing injury rehabilitation through exercise and the use of bracing and supports. He frequently blogs and writes articles focussing on the use of a knee support and other methods of rehabilitation.

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