ACL injury – Role of physiotherapy in the rehabilitation process

acl - physiotherapy treatmentAnterior cruciate ligament is one of the 4 ligaments in the knee that aids in the stability of the knee joint. It ensures that we are able to make all the complicated movements like twists and sharp turns while playing football, rugby, tennis, etc. Unfortunately, it also makes it susceptible to injury. In fact, it is the most common types of sports injury that I encounter in my capacity of a professional physiotherapist.

How does ACL injury occur?

ACL injury usually occurs when the knee is twisted suddenly or while landing down from a jump. About 80% of the ACL injury patients that I receive in my clinic are due to “non-contact” injury i.e twisting of the knee. Only about 20% of the cases are “contact” injuries like when a person is tackled badly while playing soccer (football). Often a “pop” sound is heard during this injury which is caused when the ACL is ruptured. The knee buckles under you when you try to get up and walk as the stability of the joint is disturbed. The knee also swells up and pains.

How can physiotherapy help in ACL injuries?

Often ACL injury is easily diagnosed by the doctor after performing a string of knee stability test. The doctor can also prescribe MRI scans which show the extent of the damage and helps to identify whether it is a “full rupture” or “partial rupture”. Usually in “full rupture” of the ligament, the doctor advises surgery in which the ACL ligament is reconstructed. In “Partial rupture” cases, the ACL usually heals with due time. However, in both cases, the doctor prescribes physiotherapy to help build and regain muscle strength which is lost due to the injury.

Usually when a patient with an ACL injury comes to us, we lay out a complete rehab plan in front of him. The plan includes-

  • Reducing pain and inflammation
  • Strengthening leg muscles like hamstrings, Quadriceps, calf muscles to help them support the body weight.
  • Strengthening hip and pelvic muscles to ensure less exertion on the knee.
  • Bring the knee join back to full range of motion
  • Improve proprioception, agility and knee balance
  • Aiding in normal functions like walking and running
  • Getting back to pre-injury fitness and preventing re-occurrence of injury

At Squareone Physio, we have a dedicated team of physiotherapists who specialize in sports injuries especially ACL injuries. If you are suffering from ACL injury or recently been injured, please feel free to book an appointment with us by calling us at 905-232-2202 or by contacting us online here.