ACL Injury & RepairPhysical Therapy for ACL Inury and Repair
ACL Inury and Repair
Although it is commonly associated with athletes, such as basketball and soccer players, an injury to the anterior cruciate ligament can happen to anyone. Estimates place the number of people diagnosed in the U.S. with an ACL inury each year at 200,000. An injury to the ligament responsible for stabilizing the knee can make it difficult to walk, cause severe pain and swelling, and limit motion of the joint. A physician might recommend physical therapy as a nonsurgical option or to aid a patient following surgery for ACL repair.
How is an ACL inury diagnosed?
The first sign of an injury involving the ACL is a sharp, intense pain in the knee during an activity. Some of the common activities that have caused ACL injuries to our patients include:
• A blow to the knee
• Overstretching the knee beyond its normal range of motion
• Coming to a sudden stop while running
• Twisting the knee while the foot is set firmly on the ground
Besides the pain, a person might also hear a loud popping sound and be unable to put any weight on the affected knee joint while walking. We recommend that anyone experiencing the symptoms of a knee injury should be evaluated by a physician.
After an injury to the ACL has been diagnosed, we work with the physician to develop a course of treatment. Some patients can recover without surgery with the aid of physical therapy. The goal is to improve muscle strength, balance and agility. Some components of a treatment plan might include:
• Treatment techniques to reduce pain and swelling
• Exercises to strengthen hip, quadriceps and other leg muscles
• Range of motion exercises
• Wobble board and other exercises to improve balance
When working with athletes, we include exercises and techniques to prepare them to return to their sports.
Physical Therapy Following Surgery
We work together with the orthopedic surgeon to create a post-surgical treatment program specific to the needs of each patient. Treatment following ACL repair surgery might include the following:
• Help patients adjust to use of crutches
• Work with patient to gradually eliminate need for crutches
• Treatment techniques to reduce swelling
• Fitting patients with knee braces when recommended by surgeon
• Exercises to regain strength and range of motion
• Balance exercises
• Exercises to help athletes return to sports.
At New Heights Physical Therapy, each program is customized to maximize its benefit to the patient with services performed in a caring and nurturing environment.