The Importance of Physical Therapy After ACL Surgery

The moment you leave a doctor’s office with a recommendation to go to a physical therapy, you must understand each step along the way. If you’re suffering from severe or acute pain, a physical therapy can help you stand on your own two feet. 

That is why you should click here, which will help you understand everything about physical therapy before knee surgery. 

PT combines sports medicine and orthopedics, meaning you will handle the exercises and therapies that will boost your strength and mobility, while relieving you from potential diseases and injuries. 

Before Surgery

Physical therapy before an ACL surgery may seem like the worst thing you should do. However, it is vital to undergo pre-operative exercises and therapies, which will directly affect recovery time and reduce the chances of complications in the future. Besides, it will mentally prepare you for the future situations. 

It is unnecessary, meaning you do not have to go through it beforehand. However, after talking with a surgeon, you will understand the benefits of pre-operative PT. If you decide to handle each step, you will focus on exercises that will strengthen quadriceps and hamstrings, reduce swelling and pain, balance, and hip stability.

Common exercises that will help you are: 

  • Heel Dig Bridge – You should lie on your back and bend your knees. At the same time, you should move your feet to ensure your heels are digging into the floor and lift the hips by squeezing buttocks. The main goal is to hold the pose up to ten seconds and do it three times.
  • Single Leg Stand – As the name suggests, you should try to stand on a single leg and maintain balance for the next thirty seconds. 
  • Hip Circles – Stand on one leg and extend the another one. Move it in small circles in both ways. You can use wall or chair for additional support.

After Surgery Treatment

Tear or sprain of ACL is regular knee injury and issue among athletes especially the ones competing in specific sports such as football, basketball, and soccer. Since the problem cannot heal by itself, it demands surgery. 

After surgery rehabilitation is not as simple as it seems, because you may wait for the next six months to regain the regular mobility and strengthen muscles around knees to achieve the proper function. The best course of action is to follow PT’s and surgeon’s orders. 

After a knee surgery, a PT will help you reduce swelling and pain, increase strength, mobility and get back to a normal position. A physical therapist will create a plan you should keep up with various exercises for different recovery phases. Each step is different and difficult, meaning you should prepare yourself beforehand. 

  1. First Week 

After you leave a hospital, the first thing you should do is ensuring the swelling does not affect you. Therefore, we recommend you to avoid sitting for a long time and dangling your feet. If you sit for a long time that will boost chances of significant swelling of your leg and knee, meaning you should keep it elevated as much as you can. 

Besides, using ice at least five times for half an hour will help you fight the swelling, which is a regular side effect you will experience after surgery. During the first phase, the first thing you should do is learn how to walk by using crutches. 

A physical therapist will offer you a few exercises you should implement such as active and passive extensions, which are important for restoring the motion. At the same time, you may undergo stimulation, which will provide you peace of mind. 

Check out this guide: to understand the importance of PT for your specific situation. 

As soon as they remove the sutures, a surgeon will schedule a physical therapy, meaning they will introduce you with different exercises that will help you throughout the process. 

We are talking about removing legs from a knee immobilizer a few times daily for fifteen minutes, which will help you achieve a complete extension.

Besides, you must undergo exercises such as quadriceps isometrics, active-assisted extensions, active flexion and SLR among others.

  1. Second Week

Reaching full extensions and boosting muscle control are your goals during the second week after a surgery. Therefore, you should do regular exercises to strengthen hamstring. 

The therapist will help you reach up to a hundred degrees flexion. During this particular period, you should use crutches. 

  1. Third and Fourth Week

After you reach the third week, you should learn how to walk by using a toe gait and normal heel. The motion should allow you reach up to 120 degrees or full extension. The therapist will introduce you to more challenging hip exercises.

You may also use lightweights during the leg raises, while the BAPS board will help you progress faster.

  1. Fourth to Sixth Week

After gaining the range of motion, the next step is improving overall balance, which are the essential aspects of this particular phase. At the same time, you will strengthen your glutes and quads by using lunges and squats. 

Remember that straight leg raises and hip-straightening exercises will continue to help you gain additional mobility and strength. After you finish the sixth week, you do not have to use icing and NMES, but you will implement gentle hopping and plyometrics.

  1. Seventh to Twelfth Week

A PT such as physical therapy in Jersey City will help you boost overall strength in your quads and leg muscles by conducting different exercises such as partial squats, straight leg raises and quad sets. 

Of course, if you stop feeling pain during this particular period, you can implement a jogging, which will help you boost the balance and strengthen legs. The main idea is to be transparent about your situation, which will help PT to understand your abilities before creating a workout schedule. 

We do not recommend you to participate in high-intensity and level sports during this particular period. 

  1. Twelfth to Twentieth Week 

You must continue with all exercises mentioned above combined with light running and jogging. Using the brace depends on individual factors, while therapist may introduce agility drills such as cross over and many more, which will test the stability and efficiency of your knee. 

After six months, you will start planning the return to sports. However, you should reach a full-motion, proper stability and 80% of hamstring and quad strength compared with beforehand.