3 Ways to Improve your ACL Recovery
Following an ACL tear, the recovery process can be long and time consuming. The optimize your rehab journey, the following 3 tips can improve your function regardless if you are planning for knee surgery, had your ACL reconstructed or take a non-operative approach.
Early Mobility & Muscle Activation
Motion is lotion! Keep your knee moving within a relatively pain free range of motion. Swelling within the joint will limit your flexibility but the more you move it, the less swelling that will be present. If more swelling occurs, likely you overdid it or loaded the joint beyond its capacity.
As your range of motion improves, you will want to also activate the muscles around the knee especially your quadriceps. This works to pump more swelling out of the joint but also improve your biomechanics for reduce loads on the joint in the long run.
Mindset & Motivation
Having the right mindset and motivation will help you focus on your rehab journey. Returning to sport can take upwards of 9-12 months following an ACL tear and surgery. This timeframe requires commitment to build new habits and focus on new goals to ensure a successful return to sport. Accepting there will be challenges during this process and facing them head on will help chip away at the seeming daunting task of getting back to your sport. However, this doesn't have to be done alone. Having a support network of rehab professionals (physio, kinesiologist, etc), friends and family will all help when you need someone to lean on and get a boost in motivation or help you out of a rut.
Goals & Targets
How do you know where you are going if you don't have a plan or aren't measuring your progress?
Measuring your starting point and progress along the way will help to hone in on any deficits you have. Measuring your range of motion, strength, balance and stability at the knee but also the joints above and below (hip and ankle) provide important insights into your rehab. Measuring your progress can also provide motivation to keep improving with even better focus. Having an experienced clinician will help guide you and optimize your recovery so you don't waste time and energy on areas that don't need as much focus.
Consulting a physiotherapist after your injury will help to set appropriate goals and milestones to give you a head start in your ACL recovery!
To book in with Christian in Vancouver or virtually in British Columbia, check out his current availability here.