We have all heard of the dreaded ACL tear. Whether you are a basketball player, a 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 to regain knee motion and strength which results in many lost years competing and potential ending of their careers. 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?
You're here because you may have sustained a knee injury, possibly an ACL tear, and you're not alone. ACL tears are among the most common sports injuries. Whether it happened due to an incorrect twist, a traumatic event, or an awkward landing from a jump, your ACL might be affected. The ACL, one of the primary knee ligaments, is crucial in controlling knee motion during activities like running, jumping, squatting, and athletic maneuvers. Typical symptoms of an ACL tear include a popping sensation and a feeling of knee instability as if it might “give out.”
Types of ACL Repair:
If you do have an ACL tear, surgery is likely necessary. There are various types of ACL repair or ACL reconstructive surgeries. Before deciding, it's important to research the orthopedic surgeon you choose and inquire about their track record.
Hamstring Tendon: The surgeon may opt to use a tendon from your hamstring muscles, located on the back of your thigh, to reconstruct your ACL. To learn more about this type of ACL repair, you can find additional information [here](link to more information).
Patellar Tendon: Another option is using your patellar tendon, a thick tendon just below your kneecap, to create a new ACL. This method offers the advantage of a stronger graft but may result in some residual knee pain at the front.
ACL Physical Therapy:
Following surgery, you'll require physical therapy. ACL physical therapy is crucial as it helps you regain knee motion and gradually strengthen the muscles around the knee. Surgery alone doesn't guarantee a successful outcome, making physical therapy and rehabilitation essential. Here's what ACL physical therapy can help with:
Reducing Swelling: Post-surgery, there will be residual swelling in the knee, which can hinder motion and strength. Early swelling reduction during rehab promotes faster healing.
Increasing Knee Range of Motion: Sometimes, knee motion may be restricted after surgery. ACL physical therapy aids in regaining knee motion, allowing you to return to your sport.
Strengthening Muscles Around Your Knee: ACL reconstructive surgery weakens the knee's surrounding muscles. To restore knee function, strengthening these muscles is crucial.
Returning You to Sport: ACL rehab includes sport-specific exercises that mimic your chosen activity. This type of rehab also boosts your confidence in your knee, making it psychologically beneficial.
ACL Surgery Recovery Time:
While successful surgery and physical therapy are vital for a positive outcome, ACL surgery recovery time varies, typically ranging from 6 to 18 months. Several factors influence your recovery time, including:
Your Age and Sport: Younger individuals generally heal faster, and the type of sport you're returning to plays a role.
Your ACL Rehab: Consulting a sports physical therapist can expedite your recovery. They understand your sport's demands and can help you regain motion and strength more efficiently.
Concluding Thoughts on ACL Tears:
An ACL tear requires surgery and subsequent rehab. Many factors affect your success and the ability to return to your sport. By following the information in this article, you can increase your chances of recovering from one of the most common sports injuries. To explore how we assist athletes and those with sports injuries, click here to learn more about sports physical therapy in Fort Myers, FL.