After your operation is over, the hard work really begins. The goals of physical therapy and rehabilitation after ACL surgery are to rebuild your strength and to get your motion back. This whole process requires a lot of work and patience on your part, but it is the most important aspect to getting you back on the playing field. In the past, rehabilitation after an ACL injury was primarily concerned with protecting the new ligament and the surgical fixation. For that reason, full extension of the knee and active quadriceps exercises were avoided. Unfortunately, it has been discovered that this type of rehabilitation can cause problems with stiffness and may result in a limited range of motion.
ACL Rehabilitation Phase 1:
Our NoLimit2Fitness rehabilitation program is divided into four phases. In the first phase; one to two weeks the aims of therapy are to decrease pain and swelling, and increase the range of motion (ROM) of the knee. A post-operative brace is ranged from 30 to 90° and is used until there is adequate quadriceps control. Crutch -walking with partial weight bearing is allowed and the usual modalities are used to reduce pain and swelling.
Heel Slides– For this next exercise, start with you injured leg stretched out. Then, while keeping your heel on the floor, gradually bend your knee and slide your heel towards your buttock. Bend your knee until it becomes just slightly uncomfortable and you can feel a bit of pressure inside your knee. Hold it in this position for ten seconds. Then straighten your knee out again and relax for ten seconds. Repeat this exercise ten times as well. This exercise will help you to maintain range of motion (ROM).
Straight leg raise –This exercise helps you maintain your quadriceps strength. Start with your leg flat on the bed. Begin by tightening your quadriceps, as in the quad sets exercise. Then lift your leg off the bed until your heel is approximately eighteen inches off of the bed. Lower your leg back down and relax for ten seconds