Physical therapy is a crucial part of successful ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) surgery, with exercises and home maintenance protocols beginning immediately after the procedure. Much of the success of ACL reconstructive surgery depends on our client’s dedication to their physical therapy program.
If you are an ACL surgical repair candidate and are having an ACL surgery, MovEvolution Physical Therapy reinforces 6 tips for improved healing, faster growth and higher levels of performance.
Show some respect — There are different types of ACL repairs, as there are graft sites. Each carries its own particular risk, precautions and length of time before certain loads can be applied. The more information you get from your knee surgeon and physical therapist about your ACL surgery, the better you’ll be at adhering to specific rehab protocols and bringing about the best results.
Calm down — Swelling and pain are normal after ACL surgery. But prolonged inflammation is not. Learn home maintenance strategies, including nutritional choices, from your physical therapist to bring down knee swelling and decrease the formation of scar tissue, which can both slow motion, normal blood flow and healing.
Extend yourself — Focus on achieving full knee extension, using your healthy leg as a guide. This means that if your good knee has a healthy hyperextension of 185 degrees, this should be your ultimate goal for your post-surgical knee.
Don’t lag behind – Regaining normal quadriceps muscle control is crucial for knee stability, function and athletic performance. The big test: Try to perform an active straight leg raise without any flexion (bending) of your knee.
Love thy neighbor — While your post-surgical knee goes through its normal repair and growth process, add strength and flexibility exercises for your hip and ankle —- for both legs. Your hip and ankle on the post-surgical side need to function at their best as you progress toward full, unassisted (no cane or crutches) mobility. And studies show that training the opposite leg deters the chances of developing arthritis in that knee.
Tilt your cap — Normal motion of the knee is dependent upon patella (knee cap) gliding. Loss of motion due to post-surgical scarring, tissue adhesions, or harvesting a patella tendon for graft use can all limit patella mobility and affect quadriceps contractions. Usually, on the first day we see our post-ACL surgery clients, we instruct them in home mobilization techniques.
Upcoming or recent ACL surgery? CONTACT US to start your healing and return to your movement.
heal. move. evolve.