The road to ACL rehabilitation is a long one. The process is goal focussed and occurs in stages – you can only progress to the next stage when you’ve achieved the goals of the previous. Realistically, it can take up to 12 months post surgery to return to playing your chosen sport.
There are many different ACL rehabilitation protocols and guidelines available online, and although most of the goals and outcome measures are the same, it is important that you work with your doctor and physiotherapist to ensure you follow a program that is suitable for you.
The protocol followed at SportsCare and Physiotherapy is very similar to the newly published Melbourne ACL rehabilitation guide. An example of an ACL rehab protocol is outlined below:
Pre-op phase: injury recovery and optimising strength for surgery
Phase 1: Recovery from surgery; reduced swelling and regain range of motion
Phase 2: Bodyweight strength
Phase 3: Gym based strength and neuromuscular training
Phase 4: Plyometric drills, continue neuromuscular training and return to running
Phase 5: Return to Sport
Phase 6: Prevent re injury and ongoing management
By Kate Da Silva, Physiotherapist at SportsCare and Physiotherapy Barton & Bruce.