ACL Rehabilitation Phase 4
The fourth phase of rehabilitation from twelve weeks to six months involves the gradual re-introduction of sports specific exercises aimed at improving agility and reaction times and increasing total leg strength.
ACL Strength Exercises:
- Leg press
- Leg extensions
Keeping Your ACL Healthy and Strong:
During this phase you will work on building your strength back while allowing the ligament to heal into the bone tunnels in your femur and tibia. Most physical therapists prescribe closed chain kinetic exercises during this phase. In this type of exercise your foot is planted on the floor and it is not free to move about. Squats are an example of a closed chain kinetic exercise whereas quadriceps extension exercises on a weight training machine are an open chain exercise.
Most surgeons prefer to wait until at least three months have passed before allowing their patients to return to agility training exercises. When to return to competitive or recreational sports after an ACL reconstruction is a difficult decision. The timing of your return will depend upon how well you have done with your rehabilitation, how solid your knee feels to you, and what you and your surgeon decide is reasonable for you. Even after you return, it is important that you pay special attention to keeping your quadriceps and hamstrings in good shape, as this is considered an essential part of protecting the ACL.
An elite athlete who has had a technically well performed early reconstruction of the anterior cruciate ligament followed by an adequate and successful rehabilitation program, should be able to return to the field of his chosen sport between six and nine months. This has been achieved in my previous football (soccer) and rugby professional athletes that I have helped in the past.
Note: I am a certified personal trainer with lots of experience and knowledge, I am not a Physiotherapist.