You’ve been diagnosed with an ACL injury and undergone reconstructive surgery. It’s now time to get into rehab. Rehabilitation is a goal-oriented process that requires you to reach one goal before moving to the next stage of rehab. Here we outline each phase of ACL rehab.
Rehab phase one
The first goal of rehab is to get your knee moving and bending in the same way as the non-injured side. It is also important to keep all the muscles in your legs moving and working – the saying ‘move it or lose it’ rings true in this case. Even if there are post-operative orders from your surgeon that may restrict your movement, or how much weight you can put through your leg, there are always ways to perform exercises within these restrictions.
Your surgeon will provide you and your physio with post operative orders. These are to be followed so that your knee is the best opportunity to heal. If you are unsure on what you can or cannot do after surgery, your physiotherapist will be able to explain your surgeons post operative orders.
Having had surgery and then resting in surgery recovery, you lose muscle mass very quickly – remember to move it or lose it. With ACL reconstructions we help you focus on keeping the muscle in the leg strong. There are 4 main groups of muscle in the leg and we need to target all of them. This starts day 1 post surgery. These muscle groups are your calf, quadriceps, hamstring, and gluteal muscles.
Your physiotherapist can guide you through the safest way to exercise these muscles. Physios take into consideration the surgeons post operative orders to construct a safe and effective exercise program to get your knee moving and keep your muscles strong. ACL rehabilitation starts day 1 post surgery.
By Kate Da Silva, Physiotherapist at SportsCare and Physiotherapy Barton & Bruce.