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The Importance of Pre-operative Physical Therapy with ACL Tears

When diagnosed with an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear in the knee, surgery is often recommended.  Many people think about the long road of rehabilitation after surgery, but it can be very helpful to get a few sessions of physical therapy BEFORE your surgery to make sure you are fully prepared.

At Omaha Physical Therapy Institute, our pre-operative ACL reconstruction physical therapy consists of the following:

  1. Regaining as much mobility and neuromuscular control as possible prior to surgery with the goal of near symmetrical range of motion and strong quadriceps recruitment/strength in the surgical limb.
  2. We will get baseline readings on a patient’s strength, specifically in the non-injured limb, immediately after they injure themself. This data could be useful for setting bench marks post-operatively with their testing. Having to refrain from normal daily activities, including participation in sports, naturally causes a decrease in strength and neuromuscular control of not only the injured limb but it can also be detrimental to the non-injured limb as well.  So, it makes sense to get a strength reading right after injury, but BEFORE surgery, prior to the non-injured leg suffering the effects of this overall disuse.  This data can be utilized when comparing strength testing at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months post-operation. (Research shows that there is a 20-30% chance that the contralateral limb could sustain an ACL injury in the first couple of years after returning to play.  This is more of a reason to make sure the non-injured limb is regaining the strength and control that it lost during the recovery.)
  3. We provide an outline of what to expect with surgery as well as general guidelines for comfort, muscle activation, and range of motion immediately after surgery.
  4. We provide pre-operative crutch fitting and training with ambulation, stairs, and curbs and the patient is encouraged to practice at home prior to the surgery in order to maximize their safety after surgery.

So, if you have recently injured your ACL and are awaiting surgery, consider Omaha Physical Therapy Institute for some pre-operation physical therapy!  It will help you feel more prepared for the surgery and can help optimize your outcomes!,of%2051%20months%20%5B25%5D.,)%20(P%20%3D%200.04).

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