A World Cup ACL Injury

It’s Tuesday, November 22nd, 2022, and the FIFA World Cup is underway. Spectators are riveted to the TV for what promises to be an unforgettable match between Australia and France as they compete for their first three points of the tournament. No one wants to lose their opening game, let alone jeopardize their chances of making it through the group stage.

Australia takes the lead with a stunning finish at the 9th minute, but what happened to French left-back Lucas Hernandez in the build-up to that cross? Let’s rewind.

As Lucas was running backwards, attempting to gain position against the Australian right-wing, his right knee suddenly collapsed. There was no contact with his opponent, and he was unable to continue the game, being substituted. The final diagnosis confirms a right ACL injury, ending his participation in the World Cup in Qatar.

This type of knee injury is common among individuals who participate in sports such as football, tennis, basketball, netball, or lacrosse. These sports require rapid changes of direction, pivoting movements, sudden decelerations, and landing, which places high demands on the joints. To minimize the risk of injury, these movements should be trained thoroughly.

In addition to sports, many of our patients sustain knee injuries during skiing holidays. That’s why we always emphasize the importance of being ski-fit before hitting the slopes.

If you’ve recently suffered an ACL injury, building a trusted team of professionals is crucial. Early consultation with a physiotherapist can help you create a clear and structured plan, whether you choose to have surgery or not. In fact, surgery is not the only option for an ACL injury. If you’re a runner who enjoys occasional skiing trips and have not sustained major injuries to other parts of your knee, such as the meniscus or the medial collateral ligament, conservative treatment may be a viable option. If this fails, surgery can be considered later, and the rehabilitation work you’ve done will facilitate a quicker recovery.

On the other hand, if you’re in your 20s and eager to get back to playing sports such as football, basketball, or netball, research suggests that reconstructive surgery may be more appropriate.

Contrary to what you may have heard, you shouldn’t return to playing sports for at least 9 months, as early return to sport is associated with a higher risk of re-injury, as high as 30%, particularly if you’re under 20 years of age.

At West London Physiotherapy, we work with leading orthopedic surgeons in the city to provide comprehensive care for our patients. When you visit us, we’ll ensure you have a clear plan with frequent progress measurements to keep you motivated. Rehabilitation can be a long process, but we strive to keep it fun and varied. We’ll keep your surgeon updated on your progress, and before you’re discharged, we’ll conduct a thorough return to sport test battery, including strength testing, jump and hop assessment, and psychological readiness questionnaires.

If you have any doubts or questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

Alessandro Poletto

Sports and Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist with a special interest in knee injury & rehab.