Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Reconstruction

The ACL is one of the major ligaments which connects the thigh bone (femur) to the shin bone (tibia) at the knee joint. ACL tears commonly occur in athletes, such as soccer players, basketball players, skiers and gymnasts. Most people who sustain an ACL tear will undergo surgery to repair the tear in order to return to sports effectively and to avoid early knee arthritis. ACL reconstruction is usually done using another tendon or ligament to substitute for the torn ligament.

Post-operative ACL rehabilitation is one of the most important aspects of ACL reconstruction surgery. At MoveFree Physio we provide the most successful and quickest outcome results from the guidance and supervision of an experienced sports physiotherapist.

Our ACL post-operative rehabilitation protocol consists of four phases with set goals:

Acute Phase (0-1 month)

  • Pain control
  • Decrease joint swelling
  • Increase knee range of motion
  • Be able to do straight leg raise
  • Strengthening (quadriceps, hamstring, hip, calf and core muscles)
  • Achieve and maintain weight bearing gait (from two crutches to no crutches)
  • Proprioceptive exercises

Maintenance and acceleration phase (1-4 months)

  • Full and pain free knee range of motion
  • Progressive strengthening and flexibility exercises
  • Core training progression
  • Proprioceptive progression
  • Maintain cardiovascular fitness
  • Prepare physically and psychologically for jogging
  • Bicycling (indoor)
  • Swimming

Sports-specific phase (4-6 months)

  • No joint swelling
  • Pain free functional activities
  • Achieve pain free jogging and running (with surgeon’s consent)
  • Sport specific proprioception training
  • Sport specific cardiovascular training
  • Adequate neuromuscular control
  • Success in functional outcome tests

Return to sports phase (6 months onwards)

  • Flawless running
  • Maintain good results of functional tests
  • Ensure adequate quadriceps and hamstring strength for sport participation
  • No joint laxity
  • Adequate sports specific aerobic/anaerobic measures