The Dreaded ACL TEAR….

We have all heard of the dreaded ACL tear. Whether your a basketball player, football player, or even a volleyball player all athletes can be exposed to this knee injury.  Although surgery has helped many athletes, it’s not a guarantee. Many athletes struggle regaining knee motion and strength which results in many lost years competing and potential ending of their career. In this post we’ll cover the following: 

  • What is an ACL Tear
  • The Different Types of ACL Repair
  • ACL Physical Therapy Or ACL Rehab
  • ACL Surgery Recovery TimeLine
  • Concluding Thoughts On ACL Tears

What Is An ACL Tear?

Your here because you have either injured your knee and may possibly have an ACL tear. Your not alone. The ACL tear is one of the most common sport injuries. Whether you’ve twisted in correctly, had trauma, or even landed funky coming down from a jump you may have torn your ACL. The ACL is one of the main ligaments of the knee. It controls the motion of the knee when running , jumping, squatting, or any other athletic maneuvers. Usually the common symptoms of an ACL tear include popping and a feeling of instability or that the knee is literally going to “give out”. Here is a quick video disclosing how an ACL tear occurs and its anatomy:

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The Different Types Of ACL Repair

When you do tear your ACL you will probably need surgery. There are many different types of ACL repair or ACL reconstructive surgeries. Before you do decided having your surgery, make sure you do your homework on the orthopedic surgeon you select. Ask around town about their outcomes, etc.

1.Hamstring Tendon

The hamstrings area group of muscles on the back side of your thigh. After an ACL tear, your surgeon may select to take the tendon of one of these hamstring muscles and insert it into your knee. This forms your knee ACL. To learn more about this type of ACL repair you can go here

2.Patellar Tendon

The second type of ACL repair is the use of your patellar tendon. The patellar tendon is a very thick tendon below your knee cap. This tissue will form your new ACL once surgery is performed. The benefits of this type of surgery is that the patellar tendon is stronger than the hamstring. However, you may have residual knee pain on the front of your knee from use of this graft. Here is a quick video disclosing and going more in-depth of your ACL graft options:

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ACL Physical Therapy…

Once you have your surgery completed, you will need to have physical therapy. ACL physical therapy is needed because you will need to regain motion at your knee but also increase the strength around the knee judiscously. Having the surgery alone doesn’t guarantee a successful outcome. In fact, ACL physical therapy and rehab may be the most important thing that you’ll need to have. Here is what ACL physical can help with:

  1. Reducing Swelling

    After ACL surgery the knee will have residual swelling. Reducing this swelling early on in rehab will help your outcome of healing faster. When swelling is present it restricts motion of the knee and reduces strength.

  2. Increasing Knee Range of Motion

    Sometimes, granted, knee motion can be restricted after surgery. Your ACL physical therapy should and will help regain motion of you knee so you can return to your sport.

  3. Strengthening of Muscles Around Your Knee

    After ACL reconstructive surgery, the muscles around the knee become weak. To gain function of your knee you will need to increase the strength of these muscles.

  4. Returning You to Sport

    One of the best things physical therapy of an ACL tear can help with is returning the athlete to their sport. This means performing sport exercises that mimics their sport. This type of ACL rehab also helps the athlete psychologically because they gain confidence in their knee.

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ACL Surgery Recovery Time

Having a successful surgery and physical therapy for your ACL tear is the best way have a great outcome. Although this is what you’ll need to do, the ACL surgery recovery time can be anywhere from 6 to 18 months. There are many factors that determine your ACL surgery recovery time including:

1.Your Age & Sport

The younger you are, the faster you are more likely to heal. This is a general statement but a youth athlete is going to heal faster than someone in their 40’s. The second part of this equation is the sport activity you are trying to return to. After an ACL tear

2. Your ACL Rehab

One of the best thing any patient can do is to see a sports physical therapist after an ACL tear. A sport physical therapist can expedite the healing process and regain motion and strength of your knee faster than other therapists. This is because a sport physical therapist understands the demands of your sport and can progress you towards that faster. To learn more about a sport physical therapist you can go here.

Concluding Thoughts On ACL Tears

Having an ACL tear with require ACL rehab and reconstructive surgery. There are many different variables determining your success and outcome of returning back to your sport. By applying the content within this article, you shall be able to return to your sport after one the most common sports injuries of all. To learn more about how we help athletes and those with sports injuries, you can click here to learn more about the different athletic and sport injuries we treat.

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A step – by – step guide to overcoming 7 of the most common injuries suffered by Athletes and Weekend Warriors

About Author: Dr. Scott Gray

Dr. Scott Gray is an internationally recognized and expert physical therapist specializing in sport, athletic, and back and neck injuries. He is the inventor of a revolutionary form of treatment called the GRAY METHOD. This type of treatment unlike others, addresses the CAUSE rather than just your SYMPTOMS with a full body approach. For more information on how to ease or overcome your injury, go to

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