From mental health, to sports specific screening, to the latest research in exercise for Cancer our goal is to give our readers an overview of not just research in various areas of health and rehabilitation but to offer our opinion from years of experience in working in these areas.
This catalogue will to continue to grow over time, so ensure that you check back regularly to see what's new, and if there is something that you would like us to write about please contact Nicole as she'd love to hear to from you.
'My ACL Journey' written by Samantha Hood Accredited Exercise Physiologist, is an authentic account of the pain, emotion and work involved in having a successful rehabilitation journey after injury. We admire Sam's candour and preparedness to open up to help others preparing for and rehabilitating after surgery.
I have always been afraid of rupturing my ACL when I commenced playing footy. Every game, the thought was always in the back of my mind and the day I found out that I fully ruptured it, I was quite distraught.
To me, someone who has been active her whole life and whose career revolves around prescribing exercise, it felt like the end of the world. However, when I really thought about what would be involved in the recovery, it didn't seem so bad. Luckily I have a great support network around me, being my family, friends, my entire footy team and now my amazing work colleagues.
Having a support team around you is definitely the most important thing for anyone when undergoing rehabilitation from an injury.
Mentally, an injury like this is going to be the most challenging for me. I have never been restricted from exercise like this before. Attending the gym and generally being active plays a big part in my life, and now that I can't do exactly what I want to, when I want to, is very upsetting for me.
Sam's footy team - a group she is extremely proud to be a part of
I won’t lie though, there were days initially when I would wake up feeling depressed for no real reason. Then there were days when I would wake up with an extremely positive attitude and was ready to take on the challenge. In saying this, yes I experienced a few bad days when I felt sorry for myself, however, the ‘bad’ days became less and less as I have tried focusing on what I have achieved since my initial injury, instead of what I am unable to currently do.
I worked very hard in the gym focusing on preventative exercises, specifically for reducing the risk of an ACL injury. When it came to preventative rehab, I didn't miss a session and I did everything by the book. Yet I still ruptured my ACL. That day was just bad luck for me. Sometimes you can do everything right, and the smallest of things can cause an injury. But that’s life
Suspected ACL rupture?
Demonstration of a positive test
Since graduating from my Exercise Physiology degree, I've always had a big interest in knee injuries, especially ACL ruptures. This is something I will now be able to relate directly with when treating my own patients and I am committed to keeping up to date with the latest evidence and developing my rehabilitation skills in this area.
I started doing basic exercises the very next day after my injury to best prepare myself for surgery. They were exercises that should've been so easy for me to complete but were so very difficult. My first session in the gym since my injury was challenging - it was important to go and to focus on maintaining my lower body strength. I remember walking out of the gym, past the oval and felt very depressed. I reached out to friend explaining how down I felt because I wasn't able to do the compound exercises I usually would on leg day and then walking past the footy oval thinking I'll never play again. But then, the very next session, I tried doing body weight quarter squats and step ups and was very pleased that I was able to do them both pain free.
From then on, I celebrated the little wins. Even the smallest of things that I wasn't able to do when I first injured my knee but I now could, I celebrated. It's those little wins that have helped me stay positive leading up to surgery. I've been persistent with my prehab, but also haven't overdone it and now, I'm sitting in a really good position for surgery.
As I got closer to my surgery date, I knew that I would be returning to a stage where I have very little function, and have to start all over again. However, having already returned from having very little function and heavily favouring my left side to almost recovering to full function, I know that I can do it all again. Yes it is going to be very hard at times, but I can think back to pre-op and know that I can get through this.
Three days before my surgery, I needed to let my surgeon know if I had achieved the desired flexion range or not. I had worked very hard over the weeks and had a consult with one of our Physio's to have him measure my range. At the very start of the appointment, I achieved 110 degrees which was 5 degrees more than the previous day! I was very proud of myself. After some hands on mobilisation, I was then able to achieve 125 degrees pushing me past the ‘gold standard’. This was a BIG win for me. I still had two more days to keep working on my flexion to put me in an even better position for surgery and then my recovery.
As I spent most of my Saturdays, I went to watch my beloved Fitzroy girls play the weekend before my surgery. At the completion of the match, they presented me with a rather generous care package, as well as a wind trainer for my bike so I could use it at home during my recovery. I was very overwhelmed by the effort they went to, to ensure I had some nice things to use after my surgery. This kind thought really made me appreciate the team I’m in. In these situations, with any serious injury or illness, it goes to show who will go the extra mile to help you out in any way they can. And to have such a supportive network and a large group of girls who I know I can rely on is extremely important.
I’d really like to share the top exercises that best prepared me for my surgery. They helped me to condition my muscles that best supported my knee.
These exercises are very simple and only require a resistance band.