Key Dos and Don’ts with ACL Rehabilitation

When it comes to ACL rehabilitation, understanding the dos and don’ts can make a world of difference in your recovery journey. Whether you’re an athlete aiming to return to the game or an individual recovering from an ACL injury in a non-sporting context, following effective guidelines can optimize your rehabilitation process. In this blog, we explore some key dos and don’ts in ACL rehab, offering valuable insights and recommendations to support your path to recovery. While these guidelines are not exhaustive and should be tailored to your specific needs, they serve as important signposts along the way. So, let’s delve into the world of ACL rehabilitation and uncover the essential principles that can pave the way for a successful comeback.

The Do’s:

1. Listen to your knee: Remember, a swollen knee is a grumpy knee. Pay attention to pain and swelling during exercises, adjusting the intensity and impact loading accordingly.

2. Strengthen the quadriceps: Don’t underestimate the power of leg extension exercises in isolating and strengthening your quadriceps. This is a critical component of ACL rehab that should not be overlooked.

3. Gradually reintroduce impact loading: Before jumping back into running, it’s important to prepare your knee by gradually introducing low-level impact exercises and drills. These may include plyometric-based movements inclusive of land/jump mechanics, and specific run drills like wall exchanges/lunges/a-frame marches. This will not only physically condition your knee but also boost your confidence.

4. Focus on comprehensive strength training: Develop strength in key muscle groups such as the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. A progressive

strength training program will help reduce the risk of re-injury and ensure a successful return to peak performance.

5. Conduct return-to-play testing: Assess your readiness by performing hop tests and measuring quadriceps and hamstring strength. These tests will provide valuable insights and help minimize the chance of re-injury and progression through the early-mid-late stages of rehab.

The Don’ts:

1. Avoid rushing into surgery: Unless there is significant meniscal damage that requires immediate surgical intervention, consider non-surgical management first. Structured rehab can often restore functionality, and surgery should be reserved as a last resort.

2. Don’t rely solely on time for returning to running: Returning to running should be based on performance-based criteria, not just the passage of time. Ensure you have achieved full range of motion, minimal pain and swelling, and satisfactory strength ratios before resuming running activities.

3. Don’t overlook reactive change of direction (COD): Incorporate drills that challenge your ability to react to external stimuli. These agility drills bridge the gap between the basic change of direction exercises and sport-specific agility training, enhancing your overall knee stability.

4. Gradually return to full training: Resist the temptation to jump straight back into full training intensity. Gradually increase training loads and drills to allow your body to adapt and prevent overexertion.

5. Remember rehab continues after returning to play: Even after you’ve returned to full training and games, ongoing focus on specific areas of improvement is crucial. This may involve additional strength work, plyometrics, or other targeted exercises to minimize the risk of re-injury.

These professional guidelines offer valuable takeaways and recommendations for your ACL rehabilitation journey. However, it’s important to recognize that rehabilitation is a dynamic process, and individual variations exist. Consulting with healthcare professionals and tailoring your rehab plan to your unique needs is essential. Embrace these guidelines as a starting point and most importantly listen to your body!

Jamie Cheok – BeFit Training Physio Coogee

Jamie Cheok is a physiotherapist based in Coogee in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney. Jamie has successfully treated musculoskeletal problems on the basis of a thorough assessment and diagnosis coupled with evidence-based rehabilitation programs tailored to the needs and goals of each individual. To book a consultation, click the link below.

Jamie Cheok – BeFit Training Physio Coogee

Jamie Cheok – BeFit Training Physio Coogee

Jamie Cheok is a physiotherapist based in Coogee in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney. Jamie has successfully treated musculoskeletal problems on the basis of a thorough assessment and diagnosis coupled with evidence-based rehabilitation programs tailored to the needs and goals of each individual. To book a consultation, click the link below.

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