After your Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) reconstruction surgery, you may need physical therapy. It is recommended to do it until your knee returns to its regular activity.
Physical therapy in Philadelphia focuses on enhancing your knee’s motion range. It relieves pain and strengthens the knee. Initially, therapy requires you to be in a hospital or physical therapy center. Later, you have to continue it at home. Follow the below physical therapy guidelines after an ACL reconstruction surgery.
Phase I (Up to 4 Weeks Post-Surgery)
A rehabilitation appointment begins the next day of your surgery. You have to attend them once or twice each week during the phase. The guideline needs you to use crutches for weight-bearing. Additionally, you require an extension brace until the pain reduces and you regain leg control.
The best physical therapy for ACL reconstruction surgery recommends the following exercises during the first phase:
- Knee flexion (seated)
- Knee extension for motion range (avoid hyperextension)
- Quad sets
- Ankle pumps
- Leg raises
- Mini squats
By the end of phase I, you can gain complete knee extension. You may also reach an almost normal gait.
Phase II (After 4 Weeks)
Rehabilitation appointments must be once or twice each week. It is recommended to avoid overstressing your knee. Watch out for any reactive swelling or inflammation. Consult your doctor if you face these symptoms.
The guidelines recommend the following physical therapy exercises during the second phase:
- Gait drills
- Squats and split squats
- Leg press
- Balance drills for both the legs
- Heel raises
- Core and hip strengthening
Towards the end of phase II, you must ideally regain a normal gait. Moreover, any reactive swelling must last beyond 12 hours after exercise.
Phase III (After 11 to 12 Weeks)
In this phase, the rehabilitation appointments depend upon your condition and needs. Usually, you may require it once every one or two weeks. It is necessary to monitor if you experience pain or reactive swelling that lasts above 12 hours.
The best physical therapy for ACL reconstruction surgery suggests the below exercises during the third phase:
- Low velocity and low amplitude drills such as jogs and crossovers
- Squat and lunge progressions
- Balance exercises for single leg
- Core and hip stabilization and strengthening
You can regain your usual jogging gait at this phase. Additionally, you may achieve good leg balance.
Phase IV (After 16 to 20 Weeks)
During phase IV, you may need rehabilitation appointments once every two or four weeks. Continue monitoring for signs of pain and reactive swelling.
The recommended exercises are:
- Progressive agility and mobility drills
- Landing mechanics
- Control and strength drills
- Stretching for any imbalanced muscles
You have to pass a few tests at the end of phase IV. It may include strength, jump and hop tests. If you receive clearance from your physical therapist and the surgeon, you can return to your sport or usual activities.
Phase V (After 24 to 32 Weeks)
Phase V is customized according to your sport or physical needs. Your physical therapist plans your exercises accordingly. Additionally, you may need to clear a few progressive tests.
Recovering after an ACL surgery takes time. You can ensure effective and speedy recovery by undergoing proper physical therapy in Philadelphia. Make sure to follow the above guidelines.