ACL injuries are often talked about in contact sports, but ballet dancers are also at risk of a tear. Jumping is the most common mechanism of injury for a ballet dancer to tear their ACL. Max Dawe, of the Joffrey Ballet, learned this firsthand last summer. I had the pleasure of being Max’s Physical Therapist in the later stages of his rehab while Alyssa Hartley, PT, DPT, OCS worked with him during the first eight months. Recovering from an ACL reconstruction is a long and intense process focused on regaining strength, range of motion, neuromuscular control, and progression of agility and plyometrics tailored to specific sport demands. The general recommended timeline to return to sport is at least nine months due to the high risk of re-injury returning at the previously thought six months. I interviewed Max asking about his recovery process, and we are happy to share his experiences.
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.
“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.
When talking with a healthcare provider, medical jargon can quickly become alphabet soup. The knee, for example, houses the anterior cruciate ligament, posterior cruciate ligament, medial collateral ligament and lateral collateral ligament. The ACL, PCL, MCL and LCL respectively. Huh? What do those words and acronyms even mean? What do these structures do for the knee anyway? In the absence of an explanation, this jargon can become confusing or overwhelming for patients. Let’s take a deeper look at two of the major ligaments in the knee and make some sense of the alphabet soup, shall we?
Healing time and recovery following anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction surgery may be based on multiple factors, which can encompass everything from prior fitness level to activity goals, surgical procedure, and post-operative protocol guidelines. However, there are a few general guidelines common to many patients, and the timeline below offers a reference for post-surgical expectations following an ACL injury.
ACL injuries are one of the most recognized knee injuries that occurs in patients of all ages. Yet, there is often differences in the treatments and recovery of an ACL injury. While many factors may influence the recovery process, one significant factor is determining if the ACL is sprained or torn. So you might be wondering; what’s the difference between an ACL sprain and tear?
One of the most feared injuries in all of sports is injury to the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL), yet this continues to be among the most common injuries in active individuals. Even as the latest evidence in injury prevention has decreased the prevalence of some other injuries, ACL tears have continued to be an issue over the years. Many of our friends, family members, and/or favorite athletes have suffered from ACL tears. Thus there have been several studies conducted to get to the core of what actually causes the ACL to tear.
One of the most common traumatic knee injuries in sports is an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) sprain or tear.1