SPOTLIGHT ON – Davey Kaleopa

Aug 6, 2018 | Spotlight On, Written by Leki | 0 comments

SPOTLIGHT ON – Davey Kaleopa

Hi guys,

Here is the first of a 5-part series on a young Iron Armour athlete who suffered a serious knee injury and how physiotherapy will help get him back to full health. Enjoy!

Davey suffered a patella dislocation on Saturday 28 July 2018.

It literally just happened.

How did it happen?

Davey plays Rugby League for U16 Altona Roosters. During gameplay he was caught mid tackle trying to stand up from a kneeling position when a BIG opponent landed on him, forcing a sudden downward pressure on his leg.
Davey reported feeling a sharp pain in the right knee and immediately knew something was wrong!

Thinking the worst he looked down and saw that his right knee cap was popping unnaturally to the outer side of the knee. It was tremendously painful. Davey knew he wasn’t in good shape and was helped off the field by the sideline medical staff.

The medics were unable to ‘relocate the knee’ and decided to refer Davey off to the local Emergency Department to help him.

Arriving at the hospital and waiting almost 1 hour with the kneecap still sitting abnormally (popped out) Davey waited until the specialist ‘popped’ the kneecap back into the right position.

He was then placed in a straight knee brace (Zimmer knee splint) and advised to stay off the knee for another week until he returns for a follow up review the one week later on Thursday 2 August 2018.

Davey came by to see us at ProPhysio+ after his specialist appointment on Thursday where we thoroughly screened his knee to assess the severity of the damage.

To be completely honest I was thinking the worst as in my experience these patella dislocations can rule athletes out for over 3 months. That’s 12 weeks of rest and rehabilitation! So as you can imagine I was quite concerned for Davey when he showed up to the clinic with his family.

What I saw was stunning to say the least!

Not only was he walking, he was walking without any braces or crutches. I was ready to tell him off! But… I didn’t see any heavy limping. I didn’t see him in any discomfort. He was actually smiling although he was feeling a little stiff from staying in the brace for 5 days straight.

Regardless of how Davey presented I always assume to worst until I take him through a full screening of the knee.

I got Davey to explain how the knee felt in terms of sharp pain and/or aching, has he noticed any swelling, did he have any medications to help, advice from the hospital on what to do/what to avoid etc.

After the short subjective assessment (physio Q&As) I then took Davey through his paces and got him to perform an objective assessment (physical tests).

These tests include squats, walking squat, knee movements, knee stability tests and finally patella movements and stability tests.

The key thing I look for is if I reproduce any pain during the objective tests (physical tests) and whether it ‘makes sense’ with the subjective assessment (Q&A).

In this case, Davey’s testing was very positive. He has great structural support in the knee still and there is very little pain despite the initial deformity from the knee cap ‘popping’ out.

What I would usually expect is very sharp pain on the inside of the knee with bending and a lot of swelling in response to the dislocated patella, but in Davey’s case, none of that was found.

This gave me the confidence to start his gentle strengthening program for the next 2 weeks with the strict instructions of NO running and heavy lifting.

Apart from that I’ve prescribed only two but very specific exercises for Davey to begin with which will focus on strengthening his hips and quads to support the knee.

To give you some idea on how serious this injury can be – most of the time athletes who dislocated their patella often have to stay in the Z-splint for 4-6 weeks.

But for Davey by day 5 he was cleared by the medical specialist and by ProPhysio+ to start some strengthening work and removed the brace and crutches.

Like I said in the video… if you ever injury your knee… this is how you should do it!

Look out for Part 2 when Davey returns after having an MRI scan!


– Leki