We hear about our favorite athletes having ACL surgery all the time, but not many of them document their road to recovery after surgery. The fact of the matter is, all of them have a physical therapist for ACL recovery (or a team of them)!
Physical therapy plays a large role in the success of an ACL surgery. I’m defining success as helping you get back to the lifestyle you lived before your injury, regaining normal motion, and experiencing greatly reduced pain. It is a shame that not many athletes or media outlets give credit to the rehab team that gets the athlete back in the game. Don’t get me wrong, the athlete has to do the work, but without their rehab team, would they know what work to do, how hard to push, or when to slow down?
We have been finding that more and more people are trying to rehabilitate from ACL surgery on their own- which is just not advisable.
Why would you use a physical therapist for your ACL recovery?
1. They get you out of your comfort zone
It is too easy to do easy things. You just had major surgery. It would be a lot easier to sit there and tell yourself that you need to rest and recover. The only problem with that is that you could be saying that for months. When will it change? Doing challenging things can be hard. Don’t use the ‘easy’ button and continue to just rest and recover.
2. They show you how to properly progress in your return to sport
So you gave it some time to heal. Great. Now, do you go straight back to practicing the sport that you were playing when you got injured? Negative. You can’t go straight from laying around and recovering to running on your own. You need a well-thought-out plan that takes your prior fitness level, current fitness level, and goals all into account. If you push yourself too hard too fast, you could end up re-tearing the ACL. Make sure you understand that there is a process to recovering from an ACL tear. This process is the reason that there are physical therapists for ACL injuries. They can put the whole picture together for you during your recovery.
3. They help you create a plan to modify your workout routine so the rest of your body will be strong and ready to return to sport.
If you are active, it is tough to be laid up because of recovery from surgery. Not only were you physically injured, but you likely have mental and emotional struggles as well. If you are used to an active lifestyle, the ability to move and exercise is a major outlet for stress and anxiety. When you tear your ACL, that outlet is taken from you. You aren’t allowed to be jumping around and competing on the surgically repaired leg. So what’s the next best thing? How about doing battle in the iron jungle? You don’t have to stop being physically active just because of surgery! Your physical therapist can help you create a plan to stay active while protecting and progressing your knee through rehabilitation.
BONUS: You need an advocate and a cheerleader
The rehab following an ACL recovery is very long, and unfortunately, progress is not always linear. There will be ups and downs. Most of your friends and family won’t understand the downs. One week you may have more pain and feel like you can’t do the stairs as easily as you did the week prior. You need someone there to let you know that it is normal to regress. Specifically, you need a physical therapist for ACL recovery. There will be setbacks during your long road to recovery. You also need someone there to celebrate the wins. Again, your friends and family won’t truly understand what you are going through. The day you can feel your quad contract and do a straight leg raise is a big deal. Your family may not know the importance of hitting such a seemingly small goal, but your physical therapist will. They will be there to celebrate the small victories along with you. It is important to have a coach to steer you in the right direction and most importantly, to not let you get too up or down about the process.
Why is Spark Performance and Physiotherapy your #1 resource for any ACL injury and recovery?
ACL rehab requires a lot of specialization. There is a lot that goes into the recovery process and not all physical therapists are following the most current evidence. Not all physical therapists have time to treat you for the duration of the rehab process and not all of them work in an environment that allows for the proper time, assessment, and ability to specialize in ACL rehab.
Active adults and athletes come to us all the time to do their rehab. We spend our time reading the current research and doing continuing education to learn how to best treat the injury. We work with ACL injuries all the time, and we take the time to understand the process better than anyone. For the duration of your rehab, we will be with you every step of the way. Trust the experts at Spark Performance and Physiotherapy with your ACL recovery.
Click here to check out our website and see everything we have to offer- then give us a call at 480-452-9191 to get started on your road to recovery!