Aussie Champ’s Knee ACL Rehab Going Well

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Last issue we profiled Simon Wichtermann’s kiting career which came to a crashing halt in the photoshoot for the article, as he buckled after coming down onto some turbulent surf at Byron Bay (pictured below).
Recently we caught up with Dan Anderson, Simon’s personal physio to see how he is doing.

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How’s Simon’s knee healing up Dan?

He is going well really well 15 weeks post ACL repair and he has regained 90% of his movement, the graft is maturing and the aim now is to get his jumping and landing skills back. He has also been out on the sup and surf board in last 3 weeks which is keeping him sane.

Whats happening in the video here? Looks like he’s got quite a bit of movement back already?

This an example of some of the initial dynamic exercise programs that we start athletes on once they have laid down a good foundation of lower limb strength and range of motion. The idea is to build into the jumping and landing skills that Simon will need once he starts to get back out on the water. Adding weights combined with quick lateral movements will challenge the body’s balance systems and train it to absorb load in an optimal way.

So these exercises are designed to prepare the body for kiting etc? Better than just getting out there and trying to ride?

If you watch slow motion footage of crashes, tricks or wave riding you would be amazed at the positions that the body gets itself into. Kiting places force through the body in so many ways the more we can mimic these forces using specific exercise programs in a controlled environment the better prepared your body will be and the less risk that you will injure yourself. This is especially true when you are recovering from injury as your bodies balance systems, muscle length and strength will already be impaired and this won’t recover to the level you need without specific work and rehabilitation.

Could other people with weak or damaged knees try these exercises?

It depends on the pathology and general fitness level if you are relatively fit and can complete a good basic squat and lunge without pain then you can look to add some of these or similar dynamic movements into your warm up and strengthening program. If you are just getting into general exercise or you have significant knee issues then this is probably a little too much initially. Simpler exercises to start with to build up a good foundation of strength and movement control would be more appropriate.  For example body weight squats, small step ups and calf raises can be completed at home and are generally a safe place to start. Everyone is different and the focus has to be on identifying their deficit’s and then providing them with the best tools and exercises to address them.

Whats next for Simon? Is he hoping to be on the water this coming Season?

We will keep pushing his rehabilitation and start to move into single leg jumping and landing drills. Once he has regained equal lower limb strength, good vertical and horizontal power and can land on one leg in multiple directions then he can start to return to freestyle kiting. At this stage he is on track return to freestyle kiting mid-summer. He will be ready to start some general cruising in the next two months. You can follow Simon’s exercises and progressions on the facebook page


Author Dan Anderson