Force Plates and Return-To-Play Testing

Force Plates and Return-To-Play Testing

ACL , Education , Injury

How We Use Force Plates in Return-to-Play Testing

Let's dive a little deeper into how we utilize force plates in our return to play testing.

First, what are force plates?

  • Force plates are essentially very advanced, sensitive bathroom scales that function on Newton’s 3rd law of motion “every action has an equal and opposite reaction.” 
  • The force plates measure force (how hard the athlete can push into the ground or plates) and time
  • We use the plates in a variety of tests including multiple different jumps and several strength assessments
  • We utilize force plates from Hawkins Dynamics, which are utilized in the NFL, NBA, MLB and NCAA D1 institutions

“We can detect slight differences that we may not e able to see with the naked eye.”

What are the benefits of using force plates in testing?

  • We learn about how a athlete produces force.  We can get not only how much force they produce, but also how fast they can produce that force.  Restoration of this baseline strength and rate of force development is a key component after injury.
  • We can see and measure if an athlete is favoring one leg in their jumping or strength assessments.  We can detect slight differences that we may not be able to see with the naked eye. 
  • We can also see if the athlete struggles with a particular phase of the jump.  For example, they produce force very well but may struggle to absorb force.  This will allow us to tailor their rehab program to address their specific deficit.

Again, force plates are just one piece of equipment we have access to, but it is not the answer to everything.  We use the force plates to gather information and inform our decision making going forward.

If you would like to learn more about our return-to-play testing protocols for athletes, contact us today!