The ACL is an extremely important ligament that stabilises the knee joint during multidirectional movements such as pivoting, jumping/landing and direction changes. Injury to this ligament can be a devastating and expensive injury and can potentially be a career-ending injury for athletes. In high-level sport such as AFL, players will often undergo surgery and a 1-2 year rehabilitation before returning to play. But in lower levels of sport many people never return to play. Another major concern is that once you injure your ACL you have a higher chance of having another ACL injury to either knee. There are many reasons for this, but put simply it often comes down to an inadequate rehabilitation/exercise program. This means that muscles of the leg and hip are often underprepared to cope with the demands of sport after a long period without playing.
Traditionally, ACL tears are repaired using surgery and replacing the ligament with a graft usually taken from either the hamstring or patella tendon. Although more recently there has been some debate as to whether every ACL tear requires surgery.
In any case, rehabilitation in the form of exercise is essential to return to normal activities and to prevent future injury. This exercise program must involve individualised, gradual and progressive strengthening exercises as well as a focus on balance and stability. Unfortunately many people either aren’t prescribed an appropriate exercise program or they fail to follow it through until the end.
At Dr7 Physiotherapy Yokine our physiotherapists can provide a structured exercise program tailored to your stage of recovery and your level of conditioning. Our therapists are also trained to progress your rehabilitation to a point where you are ready to return to play.
In the early phase after your injury you will be given basic strengthening and balancing exercises. This will focus on muscles in your thigh, calf and hip. If you are in a brace or using crutches our therapists can also provide guidance as to how and when to wean off these supports.
During the middle phase of rehabilitation you will be provided with progressively harder strengthening exercises for your legs and if you have access to a gym our therapists can provide advice on weight training. During this phase there will also be a focus on balance and stability exercises and as you improve your therapist will start to challenge your single leg balance and stability. Towards the middle-to-late stage of rehabilitation you will also be provided with guidance and advice to return to activities such as running.
Once you are ready to progress towards end-stage rehabilitation exercises our physiotherapists will start to introduce sports-specific exercises to train your body to cope with the demands of your specific sport/activity. At this point the exercises you receive will be highly dependent on you and on what activities you are aiming to return to. Your physiotherapist can test you for return to sport and outline specific criteria for you to return to sport. Typically at this point you will start to return to training and sport-specific tasks like kicking, change of directions and contact sports.
There are many biomechanical and modifiable factors that increase your risk of having an ACL tear. At Dr7 Physiotherapy Tuart Hill our physiotherapists can help you reduce the risk of an injury by providing advice/exercises on how to change these factors.
If you have had an ACL injury or want to speak to a physiotherapist about how to reduce your risk of suffering an ACL injury call us on (08) 9349 1777 to book an appointment with one of our friendly physiotherapists today.
Dr7 Physiotherapy and Podiatry provides services to the suburbs of Yokine, Tuart Hill, Osborne Park, Stirling, Nollamara, Dianella, North Perth and surrounding suburbs. Our friendly Physiotherapists and Podiatrists have appointments available Monday-Saturday.
Bookings are available on our website or over the phone.