• Lydia Ierodiaconou’s ACL Knee Injury

    The InjuryAustralian Lydia Ierodiaconou suffered an Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) rupture during training in June 2005

    Australian Lydia Ierodiaconou suffered an Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) rupture during training in June 2005. Ierodiaconu battled back to compete in the 2006 Turin Winter Olympics, but unfortunately, while in second place after the first round she landed awkwardly and suffered a second ACL rupture in the same knee.

    The Treatment

    Following the first ACL rupture, Ierodiaconou underwent reconstructive surgery using an arthroscopic allograft technique. The allograft used to replace the ruptured ACL was an Achilles tendon from a deceased donor. Usually it is the athlete’s Patella tendon or Hamstring tendon that is used as a graft to replace the ACL. The rehabilitation went superbly and by January 2006 Ierodiaconou had returned to competition in time for the Turin Olympics.

    Recurrent ACL injuries are not uncommon. A recurrence of an ACL injury is largely dependent upon the size of the ACL and the graft that is inserted to replace the original ligament. Any athlete who has a small ACL is at higher risk for ACL injury than athletes with larger ACLs. Research has shown that more women than men have small ACLs. Therefore, given the same forces, a smaller ACL would be more likely to tear.

    Because of the forces that pass through the knee joint, ACL injuries are common during skiing. Knee braces provide around 30% more resistance to the forces applied to the knee ligaments. They offer added support to previously injured knees and help prevent knee ligament injury.

    The Outcome

    Ierodiaconou underwent a second ACL reconstruction and completed her rehabilitation with the physios at the Victoria Institute of Sport. She returned to skiing in January 2007.

    What you can do

      Consult a sports injury expert
      Apply ice packs/cold therapy
      Wear a knee brace for protection
      Use a buoyancy aid for pool exercises
      Use a Wobble Board to improve proprioception

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