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ACL Tear

ACL patients who receive physical therapy (PT) before surgery are known to have faster recovery than those who only receive PT after surgery

The ACL is one of the major ligaments (bands of tissue) connecting the thigh bone to the shin bone. Sudden movement, twisting of the knee, jumping, stretching or incurring a hit to the knee can cause the ACL to tear.

ACL tears commonly affect soccer and basketball players, gymnasts, skiers and other athletes. Women are four to six times more likely than men to experience an ACL tear. About 70% of ACL tears are the result of non-contact injuries; 30% are the result of direct contact.

While many people with ACL tears undergo surgery to repair the damage, some modify their activity to avoid further stress or damage to the knee. In any case, extensive rehabilitation follows to strengthen and protect the knee from further damage, and to allow return to athletics or other physical activity.

Physical Therapy for ACL Tear

Following surgery or other medical consultation, a physical therapist works with your doctor to set up a pre- and post-surgical rehabilitation program. Arrow Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation works closely with ACL patients’ surgeons to follow a specific protocol, as each surgery and surgeon has its own unique approach.

The customary pre-surgical therapy focuses on decreasing swelling, normalizing gait and increasing strength of certain muscle groups that help support the ligaments in the knee so that a successful “prehabilitation” facilitates quicker post-operative rehabilitation. Post-surgical PT employs various modalities to decrease swelling and pain, manual therapy to improve joint mobility as well as range of motion, and to strengthen specific muscles that support the knee. Gait training is done, and patient education provides for ongoing exercises and injury prevention techniques.

Modalities: Cold laser and/or infrared light therapy, ultrasound, electric stimulation, icing.


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The content on this website is informational only and not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult one of our licensed physical therapists for more information.