Knee pain·Supports

Bending, stretching, flying

Return to activity with SecuTec Genu and GenuTrain

From Bauerfeind Life Magazin on 28.02.2020

Story Check Gan Xiaoman and Dai Chenying, two professional Chinese football players, came to Germany for sports medical care. They had surgery, followed by physiotherapy and aided by orthotic products: the SecuTec Genu orthosis and the GenuTrain support.

  • Under the watchful eye of PD Dr. med. Philip Catalá-Lehnen, sports physician at LANS Medicum in Hamburg, the athletes were examined, their surgical treatment planned, and the first four weeks of their rehabilitation carried out in accordance with the devised concept.
  • The knee and cartilage specialist Dr. med. Matthias Buhs carried out the surgical procedure. During follow-up treatment, he often also considers the knee that was not operated on.
  • This is where physiotherapist Birte Gehrmann developed a return-to-activity road map with her team. It includes training in an altitude chamber and virtual reality sessions with the ICAROS flight simulator.

Following their knee surgeries, two professional Chinese football players carried out their first rehabilitation training units at LANS Medicum in Hamburg, Germany. Supports and orthoses also helped on the floor and during simulated free flight.

Return to activity with a flight simulator and GenuTrain: Birte Gehrmann (left) and her physio team helped with the rehabilitation of the Chinese football players.

A young woman is lying face down on the supporting strap of a metal frame. She’s wearing virtual reality goggles, and a GenuTrain support on her left knee. Gan Xiaoman is holding on tight to the two control handles. The device called ICAROSflight is ready for lift-off. The simulated flight goes up and down. By controlling the movements, the young Chinese athlete trains different muscle groups in the torso, increases strength and her sense of balance and works on stability and response skills. This playful training marks the completion of her stay at LANS Medicum, after the active professional football player injured her knee. LANS Medicum, Center for Sports and Regenerative Medicine, is located right behind Planten un Blomen, not far from Hamburg-Dammtor station. On the building from the late nineteenth century, we can see the inscription meaning ‘Post Master General’. Today, medical facilities can be found there in which patients from all over the world are treated.

Chinese-German (co)operation

Gan Xiaoman (left) and Dai Chenying benefiting from modern treatment methods at LANS Medicum.

Up to now, controlled bending and stretching were the main parts of the rehabilitation program for the Chinese patient. Physiotherapy units are a component of her return to activity road map. Gan Xiaoman is not alone in the German “training camp”: her younger teammate Dai Chenying shares her fate far away from home. Both women are part of Wuhan Jianghan University F.C., a China Women’s League club that was crowned champions in 2017. They were injured during the course of league play. Gan Xiaoman had knee problems even before then. While she tore her meniscus during a game, Dai Chenying contracted a rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament as well as meniscus lesion. As part of international cooperation between her club and the medical director at LANS Medicum, PD Dr. med. Philip Catalá-Lehnen, both players were able to go to Germany for expert treatment at the highest level of sports medicine.

GenuTrain as “parallel protection”

Dr. med. Matthias Buhs, knee and cartilage specialist from Quickborn, operated on Gan Xiaoman and Dai Chenying. He is also the head of the Northern German Cartilage Center. Following cruciate ligament reconstruction and meniscal suturing that went according to plan, the physician treated Dai Chenying with the SecuTec Genu hard frame orthosis, also following the previous treatment plan. “I ­regularly use this orthosis to secure the surgical outcome and to stabilize the joint ,” he explains. “It fits and protects perfectly.” Gan Xiaoman, on the other hand, was prescribed GenuTrain by Dr. Buhs. This compression support provides a post-operative bracing effect , offers slight stabilization and exerts moderate intermittent compression to the soft tissue during movement. In this way, it stimulates proprioception and reduces pain. “I also frequently use GenuTrain following cruciate ligament reconstruction – on the knee that didn’t undergo surgery,” Dr. Buhs adds. “To provide parallel prevention and complement mutual stability.”

The support is the preferred choice for rehabilitation, too

During orthopedic rehabilitation, the sports physician PD Dr. Catalá-Lehnen continued the surgeon’s choice for the post-operative follow-up treatment of the football players. “SecuTec Genu can be easily adjusted, and importantly, it can also be easily put on and taken off. This proved very convenient during the rehabilitation phase,” he explains. “Treatment with orthoses is an integral component of the result-oriented and successful rehabilitation concept after complex knee procedures.” During the training sessions at LANS Medicum, GenuTrain was the perfect choice for Dai Chenying and Gan Xiaoman. Together with her team, Birte Gehrmann, Physiotherapy Manager, developed a precise plan for the two recovering women. It is based on the return to activity algorithm. “The algorithm generates objective data to determine functional performance,” Birte Gehrmann explains. “As a whole, it is designed to enable the two athletes to safely return to their sport.” For a long time, a treatment approach primarily adjusted to wound healing times was the standard in rehabilitation. Now, however, functional rehabilitation has prevailed. It is not the injury that is at the center of measures but the goals set.

PD Dr. med. Philip Catalá-Lehnen brought the players to LANS Medicum for sports medical treatment. 

Return to activity road map

Knee specialist Dr. med. Matthias Buhs performed surgery on the two injured athletes and prescribed orthoses and supports after the procedures.

LANS Medicum in Hamburg is a sports science center which is unique in the world. The at LANS Medicum interdisciplinary team with experience in elite sports, consisting of sports physicians, physiotherapists, other specialist physicians, osteopaths and sports scientists, is convinced by the use of the algorithm as a treatment tool: “With its help, we can determine as early as the rehabilitation phase whether an increase in strain is possible,” Birte Gehrmann says. “During certain exercises, GenuTrain was able to show off its strengths, which lie in movement therapy,” the physiotherapist explains. “The two athletes didn’t know the functional principles of the supports, but were quickly won over by the positive results.” After four weeks in Hamburg, Dai Chenying and Gan Xiaoman returned to China. Recommendations for the last stage of the return to activity road map were explained to the colleagues subsequently treating the athletes in China and provided to them on paper.

GenuTrain joined the return journey on the athletes’ knees

PD Dr. Catalá-Lehnen sees his time at LANS Medicum as a success: “Even though we weren’t able to fully leverage our services because of the short time, we know that those two are on the right track to return to play. Perhaps we’ll see them again soon – on television, during one of the matches against the German national women’s team.” 

Images: Eva Häberle,  COVZ (1)

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