The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is an important part of the knee joint. It provides stabilisation, absorbs rotational loads and movements, and prevents the tibia moving forward too far. Subsequently, if you sustain an ACL injury, it can make a significant difference to your mobility and functionality.
ACL injuries can range from a mild tear or sprain to a severe tear. After an ACL tears significantly or ruptures, the knee is prone to collapsing when trying to carry out turning or twisting movements. This instability may lead to the need for surgery to undertake an ACL reconstruction.
Because ACL injuries affect such a complex and fundamental area, a comprehensive rehabilitation program is required that caters for both the instability and the clinical signs, and the post-op recovery when required. We can assist you during anterior cruciate ligament rehabilitation after ACL injury and reconstruction.
Risk Factors For Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries
Due to the way ACL tears and ruptures occur, they are typically sustained during high energy activities that require a twisting force through the leg, such as skiing and contact sports. This means ACL injuries are more common in athletes and active people. Research also shows that ACL injuries are two to eight times more common for females than for men.
Goals Of Anterior Cruciate Ligament Rehabilitation
Whether you are undertaking the conservative approach to ACL injury recovery with physical therapy or require physio after a surgical procedure, the goals of rehabilitation remain similar. These include:
- Improve muscle strength and flexibility in the area.
- Reduce and prevent knee stiffness.
- Increase the range of movement in the knee.
- Return to a normal gait pattern.
- Gain knee stability.
- Increase functionality for daily activities and exercise.
ACL injuries can be more than a simple musculoskeletal injury because of the potential involvement of receptors that respond to mechanical changes or pressure. Returning to normal proprioception – your sense of body positioning, movement, and force – is subsequently another important part of rehab.
ACL injuries often do not present without other issues due to the way in which they typically occur. Depending on the cause of the injury, such as a skiing accident, other elements of the knee or leg could be damaged, for example. Rehabilitation will be customised to cater for these issues and work towards improving them too.
Physiotherapy Techniques For ACL Rehabilitation
Prior to undertaking physiotherapy, it can be important to be reviewed by a doctor. It can also be useful to reduce pain and swelling first to allow for progress towards gaining a better range of movement. Rest, crutches, and ice may be beneficial.
We can talk to you about the options regarding receiving physiotherapy as the conservative treatment for ACL injuries. Some factors you can consider and discuss with your doctor and your physio include your:
- Activity level.
- Sporting and athletic goals.
- Instability symptoms.
Whether you take the conservative or the surgical path, physiotherapy will begin with a full assessment by one of our experienced physiotherapists. They will develop a suitable treatment plan for you, and this can be done in collaboration with your medical team.
Exercises and various physiotherapy techniques are an important factor in ACL rehabilitation. We will prescribe and adapt these depending on your abilities, requirements, and goals. A comprehensive rehab program will involve a staged plan that focuses on range of motion exercises, flexibility stretches, muscular strength and endurance training, proprioception support, gait retraining, and cardiovascular fitness training.
ACL injury and reconstruction rehabilitation is a multi-faceted phase. Doing too much too soon can have dire consequences that can set your recovery back and cause you more pain. It can also result in other injuries and issues. Your physio will support you through your rehab at an appropriate pace with a suitable program.
Visit Us For Anterior Cruciate Ligament Rehabilitation
At the Glen Eira Physiotherapy & Physiolates Centre, we are experienced in providing rehabilitation physiotherapy for patients recovering from Anterior Cruciate Ligament injuries and reconstruction. We understand this can be a frustrating and difficult time. We are committed to supporting you and developing a personalised treatment plan and rehab program that fits appropriately with your requirements and goals.
Call our team with any questions you have and to set up an appointment for an initial consultation in which we will discuss options and treatment with you.