InMotion April 2018

58 physiotherapy.asn.au PD PROFILE New course for ACL tear rehabilitation What can attendees expect to learn on this new course? It’s a very exciting time in history to be running this course. Attendees can expect to learn about the latest research evidence surrounding ACL tears, specifically comparing physiotherapy and exercise alone to surgery plus rehabilitation, and the best trials that compare them. The course will also cover the history of ACL tear management, shared decision-making and ethics around the injury, the evidence for manual therapy in the initial phase, exercise progression for all phases of the injury, and return-to-play decision-making. All of the information, techniques and exercises taught will be as clinically applicable as possible, so practitioners can start using what they learn with patients immediately after completion of the course. What are some of the challenges clinicians will face when looking for non-surgical options for their patients with ACL tears? I would say physiotherapists will be confronted by what the research base says, compared to what they may have been taught at university, what they have experienced in practice to date, what the media espouses, and what their natural tendencies, feelings and thoughts are around this topic. Given the pervading beliefs and practices present in the community, the healthcare field and the physiotherapy profession concerning ACL tear management in Australia, after hearing the evidence course attendees will be challenged to then share this information with friends, family and colleagues. They might expect some resistance from patients, clinicians and the healthcare fraternity, given that practice trends have been heavy biased towards early reconstruction, and that many are committed to practising this way. In saying that, since I’ve started sharing my views on ACL tear management, I’ve had a regular influx of referrals of patients wanting my opinion, and who are willing to commence rehabilitation with me. Physiotherapists have to learn to ‘back themselves’; that their education, assessment, treatment and management is as good as any other professional, as well as the fact that physiotherapy is actually a superior treatment to surgery in many instances. How will the course be delivered? The course will be very interactive. There will be a mix of evidence- based lectures, discussion groups, hands-on assessment and manual therapy techniques and practice of early, mid- and late- stage exercise progressions. There will be plenty of time for questions, as well as case discussions. If a patient with an acute ACL tear is available, I will perform a full assessment and treatment plan for the patient in front of the group. What motivated you to want to lead this course, and why is it important for the profession? I am super passionate about patients, physiotherapists, other healthcare professionals and the public being aware of the current best-evidence surrounding management of ACL tears. It’s troublesome for me that there is a massive societal fear shrouding these injuries, with patients often ill-informed about what best practice is and what the latest research is showing. It’s incredibly positive that many patients can avoid surgical intervention altogether, regain confidence and trust in their knee post-injury and return to their previous activities. I have seen many excellent long-term outcomes appropriating a physiotherapy-alone approach to an ACL tear, and I want to share these experiences— and the evidence—with others. This is an incredibly important course for the profession. Physiotherapists are the best professionals to offer initial management to patients after an ACL tear, given their natural The non-surgical management of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears is the topic of a new PD course offering by the APA, presented by Specialist Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist (as awarded by the Australian College of Physiotherapists in 2016) Kieran Richardson next month.

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