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Did you know that physical therapy for an ACL tear can help you heal? An anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear is a painful injury that can put a serious damper on an active lifestyle. An ACL tear is an injury to the lig...
Did you know that physical therapy for an ACL tear can help you heal? An anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear is a painful injury that can put a serious damper on an active lifestyle. An ACL tear is an injury to the ligament holding your femur and tibia together that usually happens abruptly during physical activity, often with an audible ‘pop’ and a burst of pain. Most ACL tear injuries will require surgery, but all will require physical therapy in order to make a full recovery.
Physical therapy for an ACL tear can occur before, after, or both before and after surgery. Many surgeons and physical therapists will prescribe a pre-surgery regimen of physical therapy. This will often involve flexibility and strength exercises meant to keep knee inflammation at bay and strengthen the areas surrounding the injury, which will make post-surgical physical therapy go a lot more smoothly.
[Related article: ACL Tear Symptoms To Look Out For]
After surgery, your physical therapist will consult with your surgeon and they will come up with a physical therapy plan. Immediately after the surgery, your physical therapist will likely ask you to ice and compress the region (probably using a special icing sleeve.) You also may be instructed to use a brace designed to limit movement after surgery, which you will likely continue to use throughout your recovery. You will also use crutches to walk after your surgery in order to lessen the amount of weight your injured knee has to bear.
To help you best recover, your physical therapist will have you perform exercises designed for those with ACL injuries. The first of these is likely to include weight-bearing and balance exercises, which help you ditch the crutches and start walking on your own. Range-of-motion exercises will help you regain full knee function and promote healthy blood flow, and strength exercises focusing on the thigh will help you put more weight on your knee and combat the muscle atrophy that comes with long periods of muscle inactivity.
[Related article: ACL Injuries 101]
This combination of training and physical aids will help you make a smooth recovery, and ultimately lead to the reincorporation of your previous physical activities back into your life. Though limiting at first, with the right physical therapy you can make a full recovery from an ACL tear and return to the active life you had before your injury.
…choosing the right physical therapist is important to your recovery. If you have any questions about the pain you are experiencing, the benefits of physical therapy for an ACL tear, or need physical therapy before or after ACL surgery, contact us today.