ACL Reconstruction Surgery has come a long way. 98% of athletes are able to return to their sport.
ACL RECOVERY TIMELINES
Recovery from ACL reconstruction is long, arduous and painful. It demands dedication and commitment from the patient. It is essential that the patient participates fully in his/her own rescue. Full recovery may take six to nine months of intensive rehabilitation and physiotherapy.
Rehabilitation begins almost immediately; within days, of surgery. At this stage, any movement is extremely painful, and most people have difficulty even standing. However, it is important to move the injured leg in order to prevent the leg muscles from seizing up. Most likely, the doctor will have prescribed strong pain medications
At first, only small movements will be required building up to more progressive strength building as swelling at the surgical site goes down.
After about a week, most people in recovery should be able to get around on crutches. Once medically cleared, more intensive therapy can begin.
CHOOSING A PHYSIOTHERAPIST
Many people who have gone through the recovery process recommend seeking out a physiotherapist who specializes in orthopaedics and sports.
The physiotherapist will work with the patient to work out a treatment plan. Areas to work on include:
- Strength building
In the early stages of therapy, the goal is to regain flexibility and range of motion. The physiotherapist will work with the patent at a clinic and may also provide an exercise regime that can be done at home. Typically, ACL rehabilitation therapy progresses over a three to three and one half months.
Weeks 1 to 2 – range of motion and gradual weight bearing exercises.
Weeks 2 to 4 – continue range of motion (ROM) exercises and add Half-Squat, Partial Lunges and Heel Raises.
Weeks 4 to 6 – ROM combined with strength building exercises and work on core stabilization.
Weeks 6 to 8 – lateral movements to build flexibility in the knee
Weeks 8 to 12 – strength building and range of motion
Weeks 12 to 14 – therapy incorporates plyometric, agility training. Plyometric exercises build strength, power and speed. Most commonly described as “explosive” movements that must be done correctly to avoid further injury. Patient is taught how to land on the balls of the feet.
Many people can begin taking part in activities such as light jogging, biking or swimming. While in recovery the patient is taught injury prevention guidelines.
In summary, it is important to note that the human body is not a machine. Each patient will progress at his/her own rate. Many people report that rehabilitation is the hardest thing they have ever had to do. For most, the journey is worth the effort.
After ACL surgery, patients will require a lot of attention and physical therapy. Consider Lewis online and start helping others today.