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ACL Rehabilitation After Surgery

“Can physical therapy help me return to sports after I injure my ACL?”

When patients injure their anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, it is often due to high stress related to sports activity; however, if the ligament is compromised and overextended, injury can happen with a quick, abrupt change in direction or fall. A typical ACL injury is done when the patient hyper-extends the knee. The weight of body and force of impact cannot be supported by the internal ligaments of the knee. Patients usually experience a popping sound accompanied by pain and swelling.

Once a patient has been diagnosed with a positive ACL tear, the patient will undergo surgical repair using an autograft from their own body or an allograft from a cadaver. The patient’s orthopedic surgeon will usually make the patient wear a knee brace locked in full extension ranging 2-4 weeks. Patients can begin physical therapy once the doctor clears them. Typically, the recovery process is around 6-9 months from start to finish. Not all recovery is the same depending on the patient’s previous level of function and fitness or depending on the type of sport the patient plays.

Previously, our ACL patients have returned to playing sports at a professional and semi-professional level and we currently are treatment athletes who play soccer, ice hockey, water polo, basketball, and tennis to name a few. At Mizuta & Associates, we pride ourselves on treating one patient for a full hour with the same therapist every time. Patients will experience a personalized treatment program with the goal to return to his or her previous level of function. While achieving the outlined goals, we make sure to add some fun to the patient’s treatment at Mizuta & Associates Physical Therapy.

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