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2001 Publications

Neuromuscular Rehabilitation of a Female Olympic Ice Hockey Player following anterior Cruciate ligamentby Tyler TF, McHugh MP. - last modified 2013-05-02 14:12
Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2001 Oct;31(10):577-87.


STUDY DESIGN: Case study.

OBJECTIVE: To demonstrate the unique aspects of rehabilitating a female athlete participating in ice hockey following anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction.

BACKGROUND: The patient was a 28-year-old female who sustained a traumatic injury to her left knee while playing ice hockey. After 6 weeks of rehabilitation (15 visits), the athlete elected to undergo ACL reconstruction following buckling episodes that she experienced during both skating and walking.

METHODS AND MEASURES: Following ACL reconstruction using a patellar tendon autograft, the patient was treated for 6 months in 44 visits. Initial treatments consisted of effusion management, neuromuscular control of lower extremity muscles, and regaining passive range of motion, especially extension. Although instability testing revealed a negative pivot shift and a 2-millimeter side-to-side difference on KT-1000 examination, the patient reported a sensation of buckling when she attempted skating at 4 months (27 visits) following ACL reconstruction. Off-ice strength and functional testing of the lower extremity did not demonstrate deficits. At that time, a specific neuromuscular program for returning a patient to ice hockey was implemented.

RESULTS: Following 17 physical therapy visits, which combined sport-specific and sex-specific neuromuscular rehabilitation, the patient was able to return to competitive ice hockey. Six months following ACL reconstruction, the patient reported no feeling of instability during skating. The patient reported a Lysholm score of 100 and Tegner activity score of 9. An on-ice functional test revealed the athlete's score was 80% of her pre-injury score.

CONCLUSIONS: Failure of static knee stabilizers can be a cause of instability. Following ACL reconstruction, a neuromuscular rehabilitation program may prevent residual knee instability once the static stabilizers have been restored. A sport-specific neuromuscular rehabilitation program for the athlete participating in ice hockey should be considered.