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If you have had arthroscopic surgery for a torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), you will likely be referred to physical therapy for particular rehabilitation exercises that are most appropriate for you.
Recommended ACL Surgery Rehab Exercises
While you should always follow your rehab program prescribed by your doctor or therapist, the following rehab protocol will provide you an overview of the type of exercises and progression you should expect following query for an ACL repair.
The majority of ACL Surgery patients will be ordered a particular type of rehab program that focuses on their needs to help them regain range or motion and the ability to increasingly bear more weight on the knee. The jail of the initial rehab phase is to gain full flexion and extension of the knee joint and then develop balance and strength.
ACL Rehab Exercises of Weeks 1-2
You should meet with your physical therapist for an initial evaluation and to learn how to perform your home exercise regiment. In the majority of cases, you will be advised to focus on the range of motion exercises and progressive weight bearing on the knee.
Gradually wean yourself off crutches and start bearing weight as tolerated.
Build a range of motions (ROM) to zero to 75 degrees in the knee.
Work toward achieving full knee extension.
Start Passive knee extension exercise: Sit in a chair and place your heel on a different chair of equal height. Ease your leg and allow your knee to straighten. Rest in this position 1-2 minutes a few times a day to extend out the hamstrings.
Start straight leg raises to build strength.
ACL Rehab Exercises for Weeks 2-4
In a week two through four you will continue to increase your ROM, increase quadriceps strength, and perform easy balance exercises.
Build a range of motion (ROM) to zero to 110 degrees.
Start heel slides. Sit on the floor with leg outstretched. Gently bend the knee of ACL injured leg while pushing your heel/foot across the floor toward you, Slide back into the starting and repeat ten times.
Start isometric contraction of the quadriceps: Sit on the floor with your ACL injured leg straight and your other leg bent at the knee. Contract the quadriceps of the injured ACL knee without moving the leg. (press down against the floor) Hold for 10 seconds Relax. Repeat ten times.
Start half -squats, partial lunges, and calf raise as tolerated and as directed.
Half-Squat – Stand straight holding a firm table with both your hands. With your feet placed shoulder’s width apart. Slowly bends your knees and squat, lowering your hips into a half-squat, lowering your hips into a half 0squat. Hold 10 seconds and then slowly revert to a standing position. Repair ten times.
Partial Lunges stand holding a firm table with both of your hands. Your feet should be placed shoulder with apart, take a half step forward, keeping your weigh evenly distributed. Slowly bends your knees and sink slightly. Hold 10 seconds and then slowly revert to a standing position. Repeat on the other side. Do this ten times per side.
Heel Raise; When you are standing, place your hand on a counter or back of a chair for balance. Raise o onto your toes hold for five seconds. Slowly lower your heel o floor and repeat ten times.
Start stationary bicycling or water exercise (swimming) and upper -body strength training as directed.
Start balance and proprioception activities as directed.
Continue to build ROM per your therapist guidance.
Increase strength-building exercise with resistance (hold light hand weights. Use Elastic tubing or stretch cord as directed)
If directed, begin prone knee flexion excess. Lie on your abdomen with your legs straight. Ben, you knee and bring your heel toward your buttocks. Hol for five seconds. Relax. Repeat ten times.
Start with single-leg exercises, such as one-leg half squats and climbing stairs.
One Legged Balance A tolerated, stand unassisted on the injured leg for ten seconds, Work up to this exercise over several weeks.
Begin core stabilization exercises as directed.
Continue balance and proprioception excises.
Increase the intensity of aerobic excise to increase heart rate.
Begin using endurance equipment such as the stair climber or elliptical trainer if tolerated.
ACL Rehab Exercises for Week 6-8
During these weeks you will progress and continue to improve on the previous exercises. Your therapist will recommend lateral (side-to-side) stepping, and lateral step -ups and step -downs ISnce everyone progresses at his or her pace, it is critical to follow your therapist instructions regarding the exercise, you progression and limitations.
ACL Rehab Exercises for Weeks 8-12
Continue building the range of motion and strength and range of the movement in the next month according to these general guidelines.
Build strength during knee flexion
Knee extension is strengthening exercises. You may be provided an elastic band for this exercise. If you do so loop one end of the band around a table leg and other around the ankle of your ACL injured leg, When you are facing the table, bend you knee to 45 degrees against the resistance of the tube or elastic band, then return to the starting position.
At this point, many patients are ready to begin jogging. Plyometric and Agility exercises may also be introduced.
A follow-up with your surgeon or physician o perform functional testing, will determine the success fo the rehab program. You may be cleared fo activity and provided with a specific return to sports guideline.
After undergoing surgery fo an ACL repair, it is of particular importance that you follow the ACL injury prevention guidelines to reduce you risk of a future injury.