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Swiss wrestling king Matthias Glarner Back in the arena

Issue 02/2018

Several severe injuries appeared to have put an end to Matthias Glarner’s professional career in mid-2017. Switzerland’s reigning wrestling king is now fighting his way back into the arena, however. The security and mobility needed for this comeback is being provided by a strenuous physiotherapy program and active supports and compression stockings from Bauerfeind.

Training for his comeback: Matthias Glarner.
Training for his comeback: Matthias Glarner.

Everything was going well for Matthias Glarner on June 27, 2017. The demanding photo shoot on a mountain gondola in the Bernese Oberland region, where Glarner works, was all but over. The Swiss wrestling professional was already looking forward to his upcoming training program for the wrestling variant that is so popular in Switzerland. But then something happened: the reigning king of Swiss wrestling fell out of the gondola and onto the forest floor around 12 meters below. It was a dramatic accident that severely injured the athlete. “Along with an injury to a ligament in his left knee, Matthias Glarner also fractured his front pelvic girdle and suffered a severe axial compression injury to his left ankle with a talus fracture, as well as severe cartilage damage,” says PD Dr. med. Fabian Krause, Chief Physician for foot and ankle surgery at University Hospital of Bern. “His pelvis and ankle were operated on after the accident on the same day. After he fell , the extreme force of the impact caused the edge of his shin to severe the talus more or less like a guillotine. Several fragments containing cartilage collected at the lower end of the ankle, where the break occurred.” These were removed after the bone was reset. In addition, the cartilage damage on the shin joint surface was stimulated using several small drilled holes and then sealed using a membrane that stimulates cartilage growth. This procedure enables the formation of new cartilage by stem cells. The two torn collateral ligaments were stabilized on the bone, while the knee injury with the torn medial collateral ligament , the partially torn posterior cruciate ligament , and the bruised tibial plateau were treated conservatively with an angled brace. The injuries had thus been properly treated, but it looked as though Glarner’s wrestling career was over – or was it?

“The active supports made me feel extremely secure immediately after I put them on.”
Matthias Glarner

Jörg Gyger from the REACTIVE physiotherapy center in Gwatt (Thun).
Jörg Gyger from the REACTIVE physiotherapy center in Gwatt (Thun).

“Naturally, the injuries were a big shock to me at first ,” says Matthias Glarner. “But I also knew that I wanted to make a comeback in my sport.” It’s therefore not surprising that the 31-year-old born fighter quickly began a physiotherapy program and then resumed his upper body and pelvic training just three weeks after his operation. Bauerfeind played a supporting role in the literal sense of the word after Matthias Glarner’s foot casts and knee brace were removed. The company provided Matthias Glarner with VenoTrain compression stockings, the GenuTrain active support for relief and stabilization of the knee joint , and MalleoTrain Plus for stabilizing the ankle. “The supports offer stability in the beginning especially,” PD Dr. Krause explains. “They have a compressive effect that reduces swelling and they also ensure that joints are not excessively moved in the direction of the painful area.”

Targeted mobilization

“These products are very important and meaningful medical aids that provide users with physical security and a sense of mental security as well ,” says Jörg Gyger from the REACTIVE physiotherapy center in Gwatt (Thun). “They also provide optimal support in terms of balance, stabilization, and mobilization.” Jörg Gyger has implemented an ankle treatment program for Matthias Glarner that focuses on passive measures such as angular and translational movements that have a direct effect on the joint and reduce the restriction of movement. The active measures being used in the program include movement exercises on slant boards and unstable surfaces. Besides going to the physiotherapy center in Thun, Matthias Glarner also regularly visits the Swiss Federal Sports Office (BASPO) in Magglingen, where he undergoes additional rehabilitation training – and he always uses the Bauerfeind supports for his knee and ankle here as well. In addition, Matthias Glarner wears VenoTrain compression stockings before and after he trains. “The active supports made me feel extremely secure immediately after I put them on, and they’re also very comfortable to wear,” he says. “The stabilizing effect they have on my knee and foot gives me a great feeling of security. The circulation-stimulation effect of the compression stockings is also soothing. All of these aids are promoting my physical regeneration and they also reduce the slight swelling of the instep that sometimes occurs after intensive training.”

Follow-up visit with PD Dr. med. Fabian Krause from University Hospital of Bern. He operated on Matthias Glarner’s ankle on the day of Glarner’s accident.
Follow-up visit with PD Dr. med. Fabian Krause from University Hospital of Bern. He operated on Matthias Glarner’s ankle on the day of Glarner’s accident.

Back in training fast – thanks to Bauerfeind supports

Matthias Glarner got his compression stockings and the active supports for his knee and ankle from Bauerfeind Switzerland in Oberrohrdorf. The athlete is thus benefiting from the experience Bauerfeind has gained by treating elite athletes in all sports disciplines. “Bauerfeind provided me with outstanding support by giving me sound advice and allowing me to benefit from its extensive knowledge, especially with regard to stress loads in Swiss wrestling,” says Matthias Glarner. For example, Mr. Glarner’s knee can be exposed to as much as 300 kilograms of force, but his knee can handle this, thanks to GenuTrain. “I’m really pleased that my cooperation with Bauerfeind has now turned into an official partnership with a holistic approach that will help me optimize my performance even further in the future,” he explains.
Matthias Glarner has now fully resumed his regular training schedule, which involves up to 18 hours of training per week. Although the entire recovery process will still take some time, and much patience, Matthias Glarner says he is nevertheless “very optimistic that I’ll be able to start participating in tournaments again in
mid-2018.”

Images: Remo Neuhaus


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