James Deighton

After being tackled off the ball in a Rugby League match James suffered from a ruptured Anterior Cruicate Ligament in his knee. In just 6 months Flex Health helped him to get back to full fitness.


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 of 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 don’t 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 where 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.

I feel a lot fitter, stronger and more confident… I will be back playing in September and I will not be able to thank Flex Health enough for their services and support

James Deighton