ACL injury is dangerously common among athletes, particularly athletes who compete in sports where sudden changes of motion, jumping or pivots are involved. ACL tears are particularly common when making a sudden land or pivot and the knee gives out beneath you. In the case of athletes or in the case of serious tears, surgery may be part of the ACL repair process. But surgery is not the end of the healing journey. ACL reconstruction surgery will graft either the semitendinosus or patellar tendon in order to replace the torn ACL, meaning that a lengthy recovery will be necessary to help the body regain full function of the knee.
In fact, after ACL repair surgery, physiotherapy in Brampton is essential for restoring the knee to its full functionality. Understanding the injury and the knee’s reconstruction through surgery highlights the importance of physiotherapy to restore and build stability, balance and range of motion back into the knee. Today, let’s look at the process of repairing the ACL through reconstructive surgery, and how and when physiotherapy starts to aid post-surgery recovery. To do that, let’s look at the timeline for surgery and recovery through physiotherapy, and when you can expect your knee to return to its full functionality:
- No moving (0 to 2 weeks): Directly after surgery, you will need to take it easy. This is your rest period. Putting weight on your knee, walking, running and all forms of exercise will be off limits. While sitting, prop your leg up to reduce swelling. While moving your leg directly after surgery will be painful, we will usually give you specific and simple exercises to keep blood flowing and set up proper alignment for the healing process.
- Get moving (2 to 4 weeks): After a couple of weeks of rest and proper care, you will be able to start putting weight on your leg. At this time, you will be fitted for a knee brace to give your knee constant support to ensure proper alignment as it starts to heal, as well as to provide support to make up for your injured and slowly healing knee. You will also start your physiotherapy regimen in these weeks.
- Keep on moving (up to six months): This is your main rehabilitation phase. Full rehabilitation after ACL reconstruction surgery can take six months or more, depending on your body. We will work with you and your body’s needs to develop a physiotherapy regimen and speed that challenges your body while giving it plenty of space for repair and healing. Physiotherapy will help you regain strength, restore flexibility and regain balance and stability in your repaired knee by working slowly, consistently and diligently over time.
The healing of an ACL injury is not brief, but with an excellent physiotherapy regimen and a lot of patience, your knee will heal to the point of full functionality. Consistency and patience are both key to strengthening your knee after reconstruction surgery, and your program for physiotherapy in Brampton will be designed to do just that. To learn more about our programs or to speak with a specialist, call Paramount Physiotherapy & Sports Injuries Clinic today.