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What is ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) Rehabilitation

An ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) injury is one of the most common sports injuries. This vital ligament, located in the center of your knee, plays a crucial role in stabilizing your knee joint. When the ACL is injured, it is often accompanied by damage to associated structures such as the menisci or collateral ligaments, which can lead to significant discomfort and functional disturbance. Early ACL rehabilitation can definitely improve your quality of life after getting injured.

Symptoms of an ACL Injury

Recognizing the signs of an ACL injury early can make a significant difference in your recovery. 

Common symptoms include:

  • A loud pop or a “popping” sensation in the knee
  • Sharp pain and inability to continue activity
  • Rapid swelling
  • Loss of range of motion
  • A feeling of instability when walking

If you experience any of these symptoms, it is crucial to seek professional advice promptly.

ACL Rehabilitation Plans

Depending on the severity of the tear and the patient’s lifestyle, our physiotherapists offer different tailored rehabilitation plans, including non-surgical rehabilitation, pre-operation rehabilitation (PreHab), and post-operation rehabilitation.

1. Non-Surgical ACL Rehabilitation Plan

Depending on your lifestyle, conservative treatment can be one of the options. Our approach includes:

  • Initial Assessment: A thorough physical examination to assess and evaluate the instability grading, lower limb joints’ mobility, muscle strength, gait analysis, and any functional limitations for setting short- and long-term goals.
  • Pain Relief and Mobility: Techniques to alleviate pain and restore the range of motion of the knee.
  • Strengthening Exercises: Resistance training, manual facilitation, biofeedback, and electrical muscle stimulation to activate and strengthen weakened muscles.
  • Plyometric Training: Advanced exercises to improve power, coordination, and agility in the latter stages of rehabilitation.
  • Sport-Specific Drills: Customized drills to prepare the patient for their specific sports activities.
  • Home Exercise Program: Personalized exercise routines to be performed at home, regularly reviewed by the physiotherapist to achieve optimal recovery.

2. Pre-operation Rehabilitation (PreHab)

In preparation for ACLR, it is often suggested to complete a course of pre-surgical rehabilitation. The aim of PreHab is to optimize the injured knee’s condition and function prior to surgery. This includes pain and swelling control, regaining the range of movement of the affected knee, strengthening and neuromuscular training, and balance re-education to prevent deconditioning and accelerate post-surgical recovery.

3. Post-Operative Rehabilitation Plan

For patients who have undergone ACL reconstruction surgery, our experienced physiotherapists offer a comprehensive rehabilitation plan to expedite recovery. This individualized program takes into account the patient’s medical history, activity level, and any associated injuries that may affect the timeline of rehabilitation. Our post-operative plan includes:

  • Tailored Rehabilitation: Based on the patient’s specific needs and medical background.
  • Pain and Swelling Management and Mobility Restoration: Techniques to manage post-surgical pain, reduce post-operation swelling, and regain knee mobility.
  • Strength and Stability Training: Exercises designed to rebuild strength and stability without risking the ACL graft.
  • Functional Training: Activities and sports-specific drills to enhance functional performance.
  • Re-assessments: Monitoring the operated knee joint stability, especially after the initiation of functional rehabilitation.

Effective ACL rehabilitation is critical for a successful recovery, whether operated or non-operated. At Physio Focus, our physiotherapists are dedicated to providing personalized care tailored to each patient’s unique needs. By following a structured rehabilitation plan, patients can achieve significant improvements in knee function and return to their pre-injury activities with confidence. If you suspect an ACL injury, don’t hesitate to reach out for a professional assessment and start your rehabilitation journey. We will support you during the recovery.

Book your appointment with our post-surgical rehabilitation expert, Jolinna Chan, and you’re well on your way to resuming your active lifestyle!

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