Physical Therapy for ACL Injury
ACL tears are commonly reported in athletes. Physical
therapy is an effective treatment option for this injury.
The ACL or anterior cruciate ligament is a major ligament
which connects the thigh bone and
the shin bone. It can get torn if
you get your knee twisted while
you’re standing, jump with your
knee straightened, stop all of a
sudden while running, shift your
weight from leg to leg, stretch the
knee excessively, or get hit
directly on your knee.
Physical Therapy is Effective
Physical therapy is the chosen means of rehabilitation for
ACL tears. While immediate treatment revolves around
reducing the pain and inflammation in the knee caused by
the ACL tear, the focus later shifts to getting the individual
back to routine activity as quickly and as safely as possible.
It also involves making the knee and the ligaments stronger
so as to reduce the chances of such injuries occurring. This
is where physical therapy programs are proving beneficial.
The physical therapy program that is recommended would
depends on the extent of the injury of the anterior cruciate
ligament, the physical fitness of the patient, and his/her
regular activity level such as the kind of sports the person
plays or the intensity of the workouts and practice.
Strengthening, flexibility, coordination and endurance are
the major points of focus of a physical therapy
rehabilitation program. The aim is to help return to routine
activity and to prevent injuries from occurring again.
Physical therapy programs begin at the therapy center
under the guidance of a physical therapist, but can be
continued at home.
Relief for Patients who do Not Need Surgery
According to research, some ACL tear patients can resolve
the condition without surgery. The physical therapist will
rely on tests such as the global knee function rating and
knee outcomes survey to identify whether the patient comes
under this category. A physical therapy program is then be
devised which would involve cardiovascular strengthening,
quadriceps muscle electrical stimulation, balance training,
and conventional muscle strengthening procedures.
Physical Therapy in Surgical Treatment
Physical therapy also helps in cases where surgery is
required. The patient will be referred to a physical therapist
for reducing the swelling, strengthening the thigh muscles,
and increasing the range of motion of the knee before the
surgery. This helps increase the chances of success
following the surgery. It would also be instrumental in
healing quadriceps lag, a condition where the patient can
raise his/her leg in the air but cannot extend the knee.
Treatment may also involve electrical stimulation.
Rehabilitation after Surgery
Physical therapy exercises are a vital element of post-
surgical rehabilitation as well. The focus is on improving
knee stability as well as improving movement. Procedures
would include weight bearing using crutches, compression
and icing, bracing, and specific strength and movement
In the final stage, the focus would shift to getting the
individual back to his sport or routine physical activity. The
procedures at this stage would vary depending on
individual conditions and may include sport-specific
exercises and balance exercises as well as activities such as
running, hopping and jumping.
Physical therapy is a truly safe and effective treatment
modality for ACL tear in athletes.
Posted by HealthQuest