Having an ACL reconstruction can throw a major wrench into your life. The surgery is complicated, and the rehab program can feel daunting. With a projected return to sport timeline hovering around 9 months to a year depending on your injury, it can feel like you are destined for a year of struggle.
This is a common concern before surgery, and a common fear in the first few weeks after surgery. Your knee is swollen, walking is a chore, and sometimes you even need to wear a big bulky brace. The good news is, with proper rehabilitation, you should be back to the gym in a much shorter timeframe.
The knees are a common area for injury and pain, with incidences occurring in roughly one-fifth of the population, and this is only second behind back pain. Because of this, it is common to hear someone you know talk about their “bad knees” at some point or another, especially in the older population. While knee pain can be common, it is also fairly easy to take care of to keep pain at bay and it is best to start working on them as early as possible.
The following information will help you get in touch with your knees and keep them as pain-free as possible as you age.
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.
Generally speaking, exercise should not be painful. Pain is an alarm system within the body telling you something is not working properly. So, should you keep running when your knee hurts? When do you go to the doctor? Will they ask you to stop running? Can you ignore it? Stop right there.
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.
“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.
Winter is when many of us hibernate inside to watch Netflix and make sweet treats in the kitchen. But if you are someone looking to build your endurance for later in the year – such as for a race or general fitness – you do not want to take these winter months off before resuming activity in the spring. If you are usually active in the other three seasons of the year, it would greatly behoove you to maintain regular activity in the winter months. Winter is the perfect time for endurance athletes to take it a little easier and focus on building and maintaining their base for a more efficient aerobic system. Here are some tips to consider during the cold months:
We all understand that sometimes injuries can happen. Most people have experienced pain or an injury at some point in their lives. Although injuries can happen to anyone, how we choose to manage them determines our outcomes. Injuries are often underestimated in severity, and people feel they can “give it time” and wait to see if it will get better. This may work for some injuries, but often people are searching the internet or coming into our clinics looking for more guidance on how to get better, quicker.