A top junior I am coaching has been informed his knee problem is a popliteus problem. We have nursed the injury from Jan 30th to his junior trials Feb 28th. After a sensational 200m final we decided to opt out of the 100m under guidance from AA doctors and his massage therapist and had a cortisone injection.
We allowed 2 weeks off training. Started back with light tempo runs, got sick and basically had another week and half off.
As we are only 16 weeks from WJ is there any methods for assisting the injury? (His sessions are still troubled by this injury.)
I have researched the problem and suggestions have included eccentric quad strengthening. Could people post their views or eccentric quad programs which may assist? IS there any other ideas or solutions I might implement to assist.
In over 17 years of practice and physical preparation of athletes I’ve only seen a hand full of popliteus injuries. Mostly in the form of acute injuries. Although it is not a rare injuy it does occur with less frequency of other musculoskelatel injuries. Lateral meniscus injuries and IT band involvement must also be ruled out.
Your athlete more than likely has an imbalance between medial and lateral hamstrings, weakness in the gastroc overworking the popliteus. Shortening of the popliteus is also possible.
I am not in favor of isolating and strengthening one muscle group over another unless there is frank atrophy and/or significant loss of strength in that muscle group. Or if there is marked hypertrophy and strength imbalance due to training errors or sports contributed imbalances.
Strengthing the entire leg is prefered because the entire leg is used for movement. However, before any strength work is done. Significant muscle work must be done to address the imbalances due to tissue shortening. This must come in the way of ART, massage, long-hold stretching, PNF and muscle energy techniques.
Attention must be given to the foot as well because poor foot mechanics particulary prolonged overpronation with a abducted foot may indicate a lengthened, weak popliteus.
Hope this helps.
Has the athlete done any overspeed work?
Like being towed with cables?
No overspeed work has been performed, limited plyo work due to shin problems from july 03 to jan 04 (Sounds like he is a cotton wool child). The problem is he loves hard training (we have to teach him to be smarter).
Walbin, remember the human body is a complex machine. Rarely is there only one thing wrong. To isolate and treat the popliteus individually is only part of the problem. If he has lower leg pain leading up to the knee pain, I would suspect there may be a foot problem or training errors.