Post operation ACL Rehabilitation should be approached in three phases, with Phase 1 starting immediately post surgery. Your healthcare provider will continuously assess your progress and give you clearance to move into each phase of active rehabilitation.
Phase 1 ACL Rehabilitation
Phase 1 ACL should be started within the first week of post surgery. It is really important to quickly regain range of motion before you can start rebuilding strength and mobility.
Prone Knee Extension
This is a gentle exercise which uses gravity to regain range of motion. Aim to perform this exercise for up to 10 minutes a day or as tolerable.
Lay face down on a massage table or bed.
Loop one end of a resistance band, yoga strap or towel around your foot and hold the other end in your hand.
With the support of the resistance band, slowly bring your knee to 90 degrees and then slowly straighten your leg back to starting position.
Phase 2 ACL Rehabilitation
Once you have regained your range of motion in Phase 1 and have been cleared by your healthcare provider, you can progress to Phase 2. Phase 2 begins to rebuild muscular strength and mobility through non weight bearing exercises.
Hamstring Slider Curls
Hamstring Slider Curls focus on building not only hamstring strength, but also glute strength and core stabilization.
For this exercise, you can use either a towel if you're on hardwood Tupperware lids if on carpet and you don’t have access to discs at home.
Start off in a hip bridge position.
Focus on engaging your glutes and stabilizing your core. Make sure your spine remains neutral throughout the entire exercise.
Begin to slowly slide one leg out and then return to starting position. Repeat the motion on your other leg.
Only extend your leg as far as you are able to maintain good form.
The key to this exercise is to keep your glutes engage and lifted as you extend your foot.
Perform 3 sets of 10 to 15 reps or until fatigue.
Phase 3 ACL Rehabilitation
Phase 3 is the final stage of ACL rehabilitation and should not be started until you have been cleared by your healthcare practitioner. This phase continues to focus on building muscle strength and mobility while introducing higher impact exercises.
In addition to the previous work on building glute strength, incorporating drop squats into your ACL rehabilitation will help develop proper mechanics for a jumping and landing motion. To perform this exercise correctly, it is important to focus on proper hip hinge and glute activation. This exercise should be preceded by attain proper squat mechanics.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and toes slightly turned out.
With your core engaged, go up on your tiptoes and reach high over your head with your arms.
Drive you arms down sit your hips down and back to land in a semi-squat position. Make sure to land in a controlled position with hips knees and feet all in good alignment and not caving in.
Lower yourself as far as you can without losing form or causing any discomfort.
Quickly push yourself back up to the starting position, mimicking a jumping motion Without leaving the ground.
This motion should be quick, fluid and controlled.
Repeat 2-3 sets x 8-10 reps.
If you feel any pain or discomfort while performing any of these exercises, stop immediately and see a rehabilitation specialist.