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.
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.
One of the most common traumatic knee injuries in sports is an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) sprain or tear.1