Firstly, what is the ACL?
The ACL is one of the 4 ligaments that hold the knee joint together (connects the femur and tibia).
A torn ACL → Instability → Giving way → Joint damage → Future degenerative changes → Impeding on quality of life
What to do Pre-Op?
Prehab! Prehab! Prehab!
Deficits occur following an ACL injury, in both the injured and uninjured limb:
- ↓ Strength and endurance
- ↓ Proprioception
- ↓ Muscle activation/timing
- ↓ Gait
What do I do for my client in this case? In my experience, rehabilitating the knee pre-operatively is key. Physiotherapy is shown to be effective in increasing strength and balance in an ACL deficient knee and reducing the chance of re-injury. So if you are worried about your chances of returning to sport or to the demands of life after this injury, don’t! I have worked alongside many clients with this injury and helped them successfully achieve their goals!
What to expect Post-Op?
I provide a 6-8 week program in clinic working with my client one on one depending on their goals. My goal is to provide my client with the necessary education and skillset to continue their treatment safely at home. During treatment in clinic, I set goals with my client and provide progressions in 2-3 week intervals in relation to the phase of healing. An example of goals at week 3-6 post op would be:
- Full Range of Knee Flexion & Extension
- Progress flexibility exercises across other joints
- Strengthening: Hip, Hamstrings, Quads, Calves
- Normal WB
- Progress Balance/Proprioception
Post-Op ACL Rehabilitation:
My clients have fully recovered following ACL reconstruction. Return to sport is expected at about 6 months post-operatively, once you have achieved approximately 85% of the strength as the unaffected side. Note: return to jumping sports may be expected between 6-9 months post-operatively.
During rehabilitation, I will focus on:
- Range of motion
- Strength and endurance
- Cardiovascular fitness
Getting ACL Rehab at Absolute Physiocare
This post is by Naam Bhambra BSc. DPT at Absolute Physiocare & Sports Rehab in Burnaby BC, Canada.
If you have any questions regarding ACL rehab, or any other sports rehabilitation questions, we invite you to give our physiotherapists a call at 604-558-CARE (2273) or book an appointment with our physiotherapists online!
Related Posts on Sports Injury & Rehab
- Andrews J., Cane L., Dugas J., Macrina L., Wilk K. Recent Advances in the Rehabilitation of Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries. Journal of Orthopaedic & Physical Therapy. March 2012. 153-171
- Fowler Kennedy. Physiotherapy Following ACL Reconstruction Protocol. 2015. 1-15.
- Ortho Info, [http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00297]. Accessed: Jan 29, 2017