Isokinetic expands specialist women’s injury programme

NEWS - 13TH JUNE 2023

HSMA clinic develops programme for women athletes as breakthrough study identifies risk factors for professional female footballers

Isokinetic, a leading clinic for injury prevention, treatment and rehabilitation, is to expand its dedicated programme specialising in the prevention and treatment of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and other injuries in women athletes.

The move comes as a major new peer-reviewed study is published in the journal of Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology and Arthroscopy (May 2023), co-authored by Jan Ekstrand, Linkoping University, Sweden, the Football Research Group, Sweden, and Isokinetic Medical Group, London. The research, which looked specifically at hamstring injuries in professional female footballers across Europe, measured 21 different risk factors over the 2020/21 season. Its conclusion is that “most risk factors for hamstring injuries are extrinsic in nature and associated with the club, the team, and the coaching staff, and not the players themselves”.

The report cites a lack of regular exposure to high-speed football actions during training, the load on players playing two to three matches per week, and the lack of communication between medical staff and coaching staff.

A rehab session in the Isokinetic Green Room

A rehab session in the Isokinetic Green Room

Dr Matthew Stride, Isokinetic sports doctor and former club doctor at Brentford FC, said: “We need to protect our players! There are significant cultural, developmental and biomechanical differences in women’s football, however this research is showing that the main contributing factor in women’s injury in elite sport is dependent on club and coaching staff and not on any factors around the player themselves. We’ve got a big job to do in raising the expectations of conditioning and protection of women players. They deserve better and we hope that our new dedicated programme can provide the support, foresight and protection that they need.”

Isokinetic’s women’s injury programme is based in a technologically advanced, doctor-led environment. Each patient journey begins with a consultation with an expert sport science doctor who oversees ongoing treatment. The programme includes:

— Analysis with a doctor in the clinic’s Green Room biomechanical lab, using movement analysis tests (MAT) to measure each player’s movement patterns.

— Targeted neuromotor training in the Green Room with augmented and real-time feedback on video walls.

— Additional tests to check muscle strength and resistance to fatigue.

— Use of GPS tracking technology to constantly measure workloads throughout the competitive season. This allows doctors to understand the work done by each athlete, prepare a personalised programme based on her requirements, and help prevent injuries associated with overtraining.

— Team rehabilitation in a positive, high-energy environment where patients exercise with other professional athletes.

Dr Jesus Olmo, Isokinetic sports doctor and former Real Madrid medical director, said: “It is essential that as women compete in football in highly competitive and elite levels that we provide an infrastructure that is going to support them. We believe that prevention is key and it is crucial to assess players before they experience injury to better understand their unique movement patterns and strategise optimised ways of movement that will keep the individual healthy for longer.”