Read Tommy's story...
Tommy approached us in December after having an operation on his elbow. His surgeon had stated that his rehabilitation period would be 9-12 months. Tommy was keen to go through this period and be led by the surgeon and our rehabilitation methods. We explained to Tommy, that rehabilitation was a long process that involved a lot of dedication and hard work, something that he knew very well.
Acute & Initial Treatment
We started with ensuring he regained full range of movement at this elbow and removing any swelling, this is known as the acute phase of rehab. Arguably the most the crucial stage as we believe if you get this process right the rest falls into place. For a patient like Tommy (who is extremely restless) this proved difficult at times and I am sure we wouldn’t mind us saying he was a pain in the backside. However, he listened to us and did everything the surgeon and we asked of him, he just wanted to get back to some activity as quickly as possible.
We then moved into the more functional stage of his rehabilitation. This was the bit Tommy enjoyed the most. As he had been very strict with the initial stages of his rehabilitation, Tommy’s improvement was drastic and was well ahead of where he should have been. The time frame for his rehabilitation had dropped from 9-12 months to 4-6 months. We planned a very functional strategy with Tommy, to recreate the situations he would often find himself in when boxing. He saw us 5-6 times a week, repeating the same movements to develop his upper and lower arm strength. We used alternatives strategies such as using electrical stimulation with exercise to increase his muscle bulk. We focused on improving his speed and coordination and ensured he was in excellent physical condition moving into his boxing training camp.
On returning to see the surgeon in April, he stated that Tommy had progressed so significantly that he could return for his first competitive match in May. This was fantastic news. With 4 weeks of rehabilitation left after this news, we recreated boxing sparring and tested his elbow in weakened positions to ensure he was totally confident returning to the ring.
Read James's story...
Only two days after being tackled off the ball playing for Hull University Rugby League, we diagnosed James with an ACL injury and referred him for an arthroscopy immediately which confirmed our diagnosis. James had completely ruptured his Anterior Cruciate Ligament from the bone.
The required surgery which often leads to a loss of bulk and muscle mass as a result of the rest period required after. We therefore prepared him for this by strengthening his hamstrings as much as possible.
Acute & Initial Treatment
Getting the patient off the crutches as quick as possible was a priority to reduce the dependency on these and limit the loss of muscle mass that can occur as a result. Using flexion and extension theraband exercises combined with the Squid compression unit to reduce the swelling helps James to ditch the crutches and walk unaided as soon as possible
To ensure the knee healed correctly and without stiffness to limit his movement soft tissue massages and mobility exercises where done at the beginning of ever sessions from week 1 until discharge. To aid further lower body massages were conducted on his ‘down days’ to ensure constant contact with the patients and reduce and soreness and stiffness where possible.
Proprioception & Stabilisation
James was eager to start the early-stage proprioception work and start moving around. To ensure his recovery would allow him to return to rugby league we kept these interesting by having simple skills such as single leg balancing and stepping replicate the sporting movement he would need to endure each week.
In line with the proprioception work, James needed to maintain his muscle and rebuilt his hamstring. The work done prior to the operation meant this wasn’t as big a job as it could have been, but still needed addressing.
He had two weight sessions a week, one focusing purely on his hamstrings and one global lower limb. Eventually, James was able to complete this on his own, not needing to come and see us thanks to the programme and advice given.
Over time his knee and surrounding muscles started to become a lot stronger meaning the proprioception could be advanced. We used a Bosu ball, wobble cushions and trampets, to create sessions which challenged James and became increasingly difficult.
Movement, Running & Sport Specific Rehab
Before getting him to run on a treadmill, we put him through two weeks of pool sessions, implementing the running patterns in a lower impact environment. To ensure the muscles and ligaments had the relevant strength to continue.
Following on from the pool session, and ensuring James could run on a treadmill. The rehab advanced quickly. The sessions became more functional and we started to incorporate sport specific drills, letting James get a rugby ball in his hands.
One piece of equipment which benefited his recovery greatly was the Vertimax. The Vertimax drills were definitely the hardest part of the indoor sessions, but were designed to be enjoyable and were hugely beneficial.
Using the Vertimax James was able to get back out on a field where his running went from going only in a straight line to curves and cuts, to very sport specific and reactive drills.
James is now discharged from Flex Health with a clean bill of health. The rehab took 6 months from start to finish and the consistent care provided meant he is able to return to the sport that he loves.
Read Lee's story...
Lee is one of our most interesting and challenging clients due to the nature of his sport. We have seen Lee through some serious injuries included a fractured clavicle (in 4 places) and hip/groin injury.
Following a serious accident during one of his races in 2016, Lee was referred to us at flex by professional boxer, Tommy Coyle. Lee was complaining of unspecific hip pain with significant weakness after crashing his bike at nearly 120mph.
With such a significant impact our first point of call was to rule out anything sinister that can be missed with immediate X-rays and scans when taken straight to hospital from the scene of injury. We took Lee to see our top orthopaedic consultant, Mr Andrew Edwards and after our physiotherapy assessment, a series of scans and an orthopaedic examination, Lee was diagnosed.
After being told he had sustained an injury that would keep many an athlete sidelined for 3 months Lee replied to Alex “Well I’ve got the Isle of Man TT in 22 days that I have to ride in, so do what you can”. 22 days to get someone who couldn’t produce any force in his groin to holding on to a motorbike at speeds of 200mph plus was the first of our many challenges. After a quick discussion, we got to work.
First thing was to break down Lee’s needs for his sport to focus on where we had to take his rehabilitation. Unlike most sports, Lee doesn’t need to contract his muscles through different ranges like when required to kick a ball or sprint; Lee just needs to “hang on”. We initiated early strength work right away by squeezing various objects in-between his knees, ankles and groins. We observed his progression by measuring the pressure (mmHg) Lee could produce on a basic squeeze test with a blood pressure cuff and tailored goals with the use of the Copenhagen groin protocol.
To safely progress Lee as quickly as he was wanting was tough. With the use of a number of Swiss-gym ball drills, we could target his proprioception and sport-specific strength. The drills eventually included Lee standing upright alongside a number of cable exercises.
Although we had no way of replicating the forces of his BMW racer one our clearance tests included a number of 10-second maximum squeezes on a seated adductor machine.
In the majority of cases we wouldn’t be this aggressive with our patients but ultimately Lee raced in the Isle of Man TT and continues to use Flex for all his physiotherapy and recovery needs.
4B Newland Science Park
01482 966 006