How Long Does ACL Recovery Take?
Approximately over 250,000 people tear their ACL every year, with the most at-risk population being young female athletes.1 Despite being a common injury, every ACL reconstruction rehabilitation is different. Protocols depend on graft type, concomitant injuries like meniscus or MCL, and surgeon preference. For this reason, ACL protocols need to be a combination of both criteria-based and time-based. From a criteria-based perspective, physical therapists need to make sure athletes can get back to squatting, jumping, landing, cutting, and all other sport-related tasks with good mechanics to set them up for success as they return to sports. From a time-based perspective, physical therapists need to consider tissue healing time and appropriate tissue loading. Each athlete achieves their objective criteria at different times. It can take anywhere from 6 months to 24 months post op for athletes to get back to full participation, with a majority of athletes returning to sport between the 9- and 12-month mark.
What Are the Different Levels of an ACL Tear?
There are 250,000 anterior cruciate ligament ruptures in the United States every year1. The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of four major stabilizing ligaments of the knee. The ACL, along with the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), medial collateral ligament (MCL), and lateral collateral ligament (LCL), play crucial roles in helping the knee function normally. When one or more of these ligaments is injured, daily activities such as going up and down stairs or walking across uneven terrain can become more challenging. Similarly, an injury to one or more knee ligament(s) can make running, cutting, or jumping difficult in sports. Not all ACL injuries are created equal, as some are more severe than others. Let’s take a look at how ACL injuries are classified.
The Basics: Sprains, Strains, and Fractures…What’s The Difference?
“I sprained my hamstring!” “I didn’t break it. I fractured it.” “He had a bad ankle strain.” Physical therapists, occupational therapists, and most medical professionals cringe when we hear this at parties, in the media, or our clinic. The tactful among us do their best to resist the urge to correct, but let’s face it, we are only human.
How to Succeed in PT following ACL Reconstruction Surgery
“I don’t really have the words right now, definitely not the right ones at least,” this was the quote from Odell Beckham Jr. following his 2nd ACL tear during Superbowl LVI. Most people know that an ACL tear is a common knee injury that requires a long, tenacious recovery. Once an ACL is torn, the risk of re-tear or tearing the opposite side is 20-35% more likely4. The above statistic may be alarming and is why ACL reconstruction rehabilitation needs to be taken very seriously.
3 Common Winter Sports Injuries and How to Avoid Them
“Hold my coffee.” Don’t let these be your famous last words before getting injured. Winter sports are amazing to watch; skiers and snowboarders traveling at high velocities and defying gravity when launching off jumps the size of houses. Figure skaters effortlessly glide, edge, and spin. All activities have risks, but the variables involved in winter sports can be out of our control, unfamiliar, and have higher stakes than what we are used to. This blog will cover tips, strategies, and more to keep you on the slopes and rink and out of the emergency room this winter.
Why Are ACL Tears So Common? 4 Ways to Help Minimize Your Risk of Injury
Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears, the dreaded injury. Many people know ACL tears are a severe injury, involving a long road of recovery despite surgical or conservative intervention. The ACL is a sturdy ligament deep in the knee joint that stabilizes the knee, specifically with rotational movements. There are two ways to injure your ACL, direct contact or non-contact. A direct contact ACL injury is when the knee takes a direct blow from another person or object. A non-contact ACL injury occurs when pivoting, cutting, twisting, or landing on the knee.
6 Exercises to Help Minimize an Injury to the ACL
With ACL injuries on the rise in young athletes, it is as important as ever to improve the strength in the lower limbs as a means to prevent an ACL tear.1 The average time of recovery after an ACL tear and subsequent surgery is typically six to nine months, and can set back an athlete for a much longer period of time than that.2 Biomechanics and strength are just a few pieces of the puzzle that can help prevent an injury. Proper rest, recovery, sleep, and nutrition can also help minimize the risk of an ACL tear from happening. The following are a list of strengthening exercises that address important aspects of an ACL prevention program.
3 Reason to See a PT When You’re Not Injured
For most people, physical therapy is only considered after an injury or surgical procedure. Unlike medical doctors, dentists and eye doctors, people do not consider going to a physical therapist for yearly check-ups. However, if you are training for a particular event, interested in finding out your injury risk level for specific sports, want to improve your balance or are considering seeking preventative care to decrease risk of age-related issues, physical therapy may be the best option to consider. Physical therapists are trained to be movement experts. They evaluate their patients based on functional movement screens, strength testing, range of motion measurements and special tests to determine muscular deficiencies and imbalances. Discussing goals during your first session with your therapist will allow for performance of a specific exam and creation of a unique exercise program built for you. Here are three reasons you may want to consider seeing a physical therapist even though you may not be in pain or have an injury.