On today’s episode of the Healthy Wealthy and Smart Podcast, Dr. Bart Dingenen joins me to discuss ACL rehab and return to play protocols. Dr. Dingenen is currently both a sport physiotherapist at Motion To Balance in Genk, Belgium and a post-doctoral researcher and lecturer at Hasselt University.

In this episode, we discuss:

-Physiological and psychological considerations for return to sport following ACL reconstruction

-How to structure treatments to promote motor learning

-The fine line of early return to sport and the risk for re-injury

-Integration of sport prevention training at follow-up

-And so much more!


More traditional approaches to rehabilitation following ACL reconstruction are limited to the physiology of the athlete. Bart believes, “Knee focused outcomes can be valuable but probably don’t tell us enough about the big picture of that patient in front of you.” One outcome measure isn’t adequate enough to determine how an athlete is progressing through therapy and Bart stresses, “We don’t treat a structure, we really treat a person.”


Bart stresses that the most effective intervention addresses the sensory motor system considering the neuroplastic changes that occurred following injury. He states, “If we just continue to consider the ACL as a pure mechanical problem, I think you miss so much.”


The clinician’s role is to provide a rich environment that is sport specific, fun and challenging to ensure compliance and reduce risk of re-injury. Bart recommends, “People have no time to be consciously aware of their knee. They have to have fun and they have to move. These aspects have to be there in your training.”


Treatment sessions should seek to mimic an open and dynamic environment which challenges the athlete physically and cognitively. Bart warns, “If you do [ACL injury prevention training] the traditional way you see indeed the compliance rates are really low.”


For more information on Bart:

Dr. Bart Dingenen is a sport physical therapist from Belgium. He is currently working as a postdoctoral researcher and lecturer at the University of Hasselt, Belgium, in combination with his work as sport physical therapist in the private physical therapy practice Motion to Balance, Genk, Belgium.

He finished his PhD in 2015 at KU Leuven (Belgium) on postural control in relation to knee and ankle injuries. Bart published numerous papers in international peer-reviewed journals over the last 5 years on ACL injury, chronic ankle instability, athletic screening, injury prevention, postural control and jumping and running mechanics, and is a well-respected speaker at both national and international conferences, workshops and symposia.

Resources discussed on this show:

Bart Dingenen Twitter

Bart Dingenen Publications

Return to sport Video

International Knee Documentation Committee Questionnaire

Optimization of the Return-to-Sport Paradigm After Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction: A Critical Step Back to Move Forward

Tim Gabbett Publications

Email: bart.dingenen@uhasselt.be


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Have a great week and stay Healthy Wealthy and Smart!


Xo Karen


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©2019 Karen Litzy Physical Therapy PLLC.
©2019 Karen Litzy Physical Therapy PLLC.
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