Unpacking the acute sporting knee


Jane Rooney, FACP, will present ‘The acute sporting knee’. A course that will cover contemporary evidence-based assessment and management of commonly presenting acute knee conditions.

What was your drive behind wanting to become a specialist in sports physiotherapy?

I was inspired by the amazing knowledge and clinical examination skills of the few specialists I knew at the time. As a Titled Musculoskeletal and Specialist Sports Physiotherapist as awarded by the Australian College of Physiotherapists in 2009, I could have chosen either pathway, but having worked in sports medicine for 20 years, I felt that sports specialisation was more congruent with my patient population and interests.

While strict application criteria existed in this early phase of specialisation, there was no formal training program. We started practicing the clinical exam process under the guidance of Dr Henry Wajswelner’s, FACP, only six weeks before the exam. I am very grateful to Henry and other specialists’ who generously gave up their time to assist us to prepare for the exam—in addition to my sports specialisation colleagues Paul Visentini, Mick Vadiveloo and Wendy Braybon for their support and friendship. I could have never have achieved this without the support of my husband and extended family caring for our two children who were both under three when I sat my exam in 2009. Passing the exam and becoming a Specialist Physiotherapist and Fellow of the Australian College of Physiotherapists has certainly been the pinnacle of my career to-date and has resulted in many exciting career opportunities, in addition to personal job satisfaction.

What interested you most in working with elite athletes and what would you say is your main highlight in this area?

I really enjoy working with sporting groups and athletes on many levels. I enjoy the intellectual challenge of managing complex problems and understanding the body as a highly functioning and very adaptable system. I also enjoy working as part of a team with the integration of medicine, biomechanics, psychology, strength and conditioning, and coaching staff with the individual athlete—often in challenging situations with time pressures. I love the buzz and pressure of competition and assisting the athlete to perform at their best in that moment. I have highlights every day; from seeing the adolescent male with an ACL injury, who has been socially isolated and depressed due to the extended time away from his sport, finally integrating into training with his team and seeing him smile again. To supporting Serena Williams to win two Australian Opens when I was part of her team, and our Australian Paralympic javelin champion, Madeline Hogan, who made it to the Rio Olympics nine months after a second ACL injury. 

What is it about the knee that interests you most? What do you find most challenging about it?

My passion with the knee began 20 years ago when I started working in a highly functioning knee team with orthopaedic surgeon, Mr Iain McLean. Iain was a wonderful patient mentor and had a great team of sports physicians around him, including Dr Peter Larkins, and we worked closely together to achieve optimal outcomes for our patients. Initially, I underestimated the complexity of some knee pain presentations—there are many structures within the knee that can be nociceptive drivers, and the knee functions within the lower limb kinetic chain, so is influenced by the distal and proximal structures of that chain. A thorough understanding of these components and mechanics is necessary to achieve good long-term patient outcomes. There is an overwhelming amount of research in this area to keep up with, ensuring best evidence-based practice.

What is the added value of the masterclass for participants registered/interested in the acute sporting knee course?

The masterclass is a unique learning experience where course participants can witness a live specialist-level patient examination. Assessment and treatment is conducted within an evidence-informed framework followed by a question and answers session, exploring the clinical reasoning and contemporary research evidence underpinning the assessment and management advice.

The Acute Sporting Knee course will be held 2–3 November in New South Wales and 16–17 November in Queensland. For more information visit australian.phyio/pd.


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