Rehabilitation begins immediately after the injury.
Initial rehab should include ice, gentle knee motion, quad setting, straight leg raise, and protected weight bearing. The worst thing that can be done is to not move or use the knee. When the ACL ruptures, the knee fills with blood, becomes stiff and painful. Gentle motion will help to move the blood out of the joint to improve pain and function. When the knee is not moved the blood in the joint becomes clotted. When this occurs, motion becomes more painful and the removal of the blood takes longer. Rupture of the ACL causes significant short term and long term disability.
The major goals of rehabilitation following ACL surgery are:
Restoration of joint anatomy; is a provision of static and dynamic stability maintenance of the aerobic conditioning and psychological well being; and early return to work and sport.
These have required the development of an intensive rehabilitation program in which the patient has to take an active involvement.