How can physical therapy help with an ACL injury?
If you’ve torn your ACL you should see a physical therapist. Your physical therapist will evaluate your condition and work with you to come up with a treatment plan.
After tearing your ACL, the first goal should be decreasing pain and swelling. When at home, you can treat your torn ACL with protection rest, ice, compression and elevation (PRICE.) This process can also require crutches or possibly a knee brace. Some people do not need surgery even with a torn ACL, some people do. Your physical therapist can help you determine the most appropriate path for you and help you decide.
Your physical therapist can help with pain, swelling, balance and getting back to as normal as possible. Physical therapy can help improve your knee’s range of motion as well as strengthen the muscles around it. You’ll also work to strengthen your quads, hamstrings and hips.
Balance exercises can be done with foam pads and other methods that challenge your balance. Focusing on regaining balance can help get you back to walking normally without crutches.
A torn ACL can prevent you from playing sports. If you are an active person hoping to get back into sports, talk with your physical therapist about plyometric training or jump training. This won’t be started until your knee is stable and there is no more pain.
The amount of time varies but can take about 3 months after surgery before you can begin this kind of physical training. At this point, you can consult with your physical therapist about running or plyometric training and can come up with a plan to get you back into sports.
Plyometric training can help you get back to high-impact sports. Plyometrics are great for rehabbing an injury. Plyometrics are great for training for sports that involve jumping such as volleyball, basketball or tennis. These jumping exercises can help you stretch and strengthen your muscles.
Your ACL rehab will take an average of 7 to 12 months. Rehabilitation can be delayed even longer if some steps are taking longer than average. Your physical therapist will be able to monitor your progress and help you find a plan that will work best for your needs.
We are aggressive in our testing to reduce the risk of having another ACL tear. There is no amount of time that is appropriate to return to your sport without appropriate testing. You need your strength, power, and balance tested rigorously.
If you’ve torn your ACL, had ACL surgery, or suffered from some other type of pain, contact Rainey Pain & Performance. Our team of professionals is here to help you decrease your pain and increase your performance. Schedule an appointment by calling (520) 459-1386.