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Leveraging Technology VI: Case Example: ACL Injury “Prevention”

Posted Jan 29 2012 11:49pm

Recently, I stumbled upon a website post via Twitter:

Original Tweet

I absolutely love the basis and intent of the tweet! Female athletes exhibit increased incidence of non-contact anterior cruciate ligament injuries, so we need to work to reduce their risk of injury through specific training, performance, and post-surgical rehabilitation programs. ACL injury, reconstructive surgery, co-morbidities, rehabilitation, return to sport, and prevention all are hot topics currently. Studies have investigated risk factors for ACL injury, sport specific rehabilitation and return to play,  accelerated vs. standard rehabilitation timeframes, as well as predictors of osteoarthritis following reconstruction. Some investigations attempt to identify individuals who can cope without an ACL vs. those who require surgical intervention. And unfortunately, as ACL injuries occur in younger and younger athletes physical therapists must consider the proper management of ACL injuries in skeletally immature individuals . I posted about fear of re-injury and return to sport following ACL reconstruction .

The link in the tweet is a Santa Monica Sports Medicine Foundation website page that explains the Prevent Injury and Enhance Performance (PEP) Program . But, I had 2 discussion points:

  • The PEP may not be the best program
  • Prevention may not be the best wording

Based upon my understanding of the literature on the topic, Sportsmetrics seems a superior choice for both injury risk reduction and performance. Second, I do not think we can truly and absolutely prevent injuries. Injury is an inherent risk of sport. Even non-contact ACL injuries are not totally preventable. Now, injury risk reduction is possible and feasible. I believe that the using the term prevention is the wrong nomenclature. It conveys an inaccurate message. Every attempt is made to reduce the relative risk of injury. But, make no mistake, there is no way to totally abolish injury risk. Maybe I am being too fussy…

In a strike of happy coincidence I read the abstract of a systematic review from the journal Sports Health: A Multi-disciplinary Approach the day before through Google Reader. The title of the article is Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury Prevention Training In Female Athletes: A Systematic Review of Injury Reduction and Results of Athletic Performance Tests . The review analyzed the results of other studies in an attempt to ascertain which training programs decreased ACL injury risk and in conjunction what measures of performance were improved. The conclusion:

Sportsmetrics produced significant increases in lower extremity and abdominal strength, vertical jump height, estimated maximal aerobic power, speed, and agility. Prevent Injury and Enhance Performance (PEP) significantly improved isokinetic knee flexion strength but did not improve vertical jump height, speed, or agility. The other 3 programs (Myklebust, the “11,” and Knee Ligament Injury Prevention) did not improve both ACL injury rates and athletic performance tests.

My initial response

And nomenclature thoughts

A little bit of info from the review

Responses

Other tweets

@PacificTigerDPT brought up some excellent points in our exchange. The importance of marketing to patients and clients to maximize accessing the most effective care was something I did not think about. I really enjoyed conversing, discussing, and learning via Twitter.

Now, I am bias, because my practice location utilizes the Sportsmetrics program. I am most comfortable and familiar with administering Sportsmetrics. But, given the data in the above systematic review, I think Sportsmetrics is overall a superior program. Obviously, you want your injury risk reduction program to reduce the risk of injury! That is priority number one. But, improving performance measures such as power, aerobic capacity, strength, and agility is always at the forefront of any training, recovering, or rehabilitating athlete’s mind. In this regard, the data seems to suggest that Sportsmetrics outperforms Prevent Injury and Enhance Performance (PEP) Program. I would argue the Enhance Performance part of the name should be taken out, given the data shows that it only improves isokinetic knee flexion strength, but no measures of athletic performance.

The interactions on this topic I had through twitter as well as this resulting blog post are a real illustration of how to leverage Twitter, tweet replies, RSS feeds, and blog posts to engage in the analysis of literature, discussion of clinical practice, and comparison of research. I think this is the future of professional discussion, and potentially continuing education.

I was able to engage information from a tweet with replies. I read a website post on the PEP and compared it to the abstract I had read through RSS and Google Reader. Then, replied to the tweet with some of my analyses and a link to the systematic review. Lastly, I expanded upon my thoughts and analysis through this blog post. As illustrated, current technological and social media tool are not mutually exclusively. They can be leveraged together to facilitate networking, discussion, and professional growth.

For more detailed information on leveraging technology check out the entire Leveraging Technology Series:

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