Post-ACL Reconstruction Rehabilitation
Post-operative ACL rehabilitation is probably the least emphasized and most crucial aspect of care for a torn ACL. Whether or not a patient is diligent about their therapy determines how well their knee will perform after ACL reconstruction. Most patients experience a full recovery and resume their previous lifestyle, including professional athletes. However, some patients complain of pain, stiffness and limited motion in the joint for months or years following ACL reconstruction surgery.
The best outcome is when your physiotherapist guides your rehabilitation in ACL Reconstructions.
What is the Timeline for Return to Activities after ACL Reconstruction?
Initially, following ACL reconstruction, patients can expect to be using crutches from one to three weeks. Early in rehabilitation, the emphasis is to control swelling, the flexibility of the joint, and return of strength. As the range of motion improves, an increased focus is on recovering strength.
Swimming and cycling are excellent methods of strengthening the muscles around the knee. Muscle strengthening is critical to recovering muscle mass lost due to surgery and improve the joint’s stability as increased muscle strength reduces stress on the joint ligaments. Finally, regular (not high-demand) activities (e.g. running) can resume at about four months in most cases following surgery. Most athletes in high-demand sports with cutting and lateral movement (e.g. soccer, basketball) can expect to return about six to twelve months after surgical reconstruction.
Over 90% of patients can resume their previous level of activity after ACL reconstruction. A small percentage of patients m persistent pain or instability; however, changes in activity level following ACL reconstruction surgery are often due to choice rather than limitations of the knee joint.
What to do if you have a Ruptured ACL?
We highly recommend physiotherapy guidance for any ACL tear. Successful rehabilitation options vary depending on your age, activity level, the extent of injury what sporting demands that you are planning to resume.