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The Importance of Time In ACL Rehabilitation

At Omaha Physical Therapy Institute, we see a LOT of patients who have suffered an Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injury.  Many times these patients are athletes and are anxious about returning to their respective sport(s) as quickly as they can.  Return to play can be dictated by a lot of different factors including the surgeon’s protocol and assessment, return to play testing (strength, range of motion, balance, hop testing, landing technique, reactive agility, sport specific skill integration/tolerance, psychological readiness to play testing), and the amount of time the patient is into their recovery after their surgery.  A recent study, which is discussed below, investigated the time frame for return to play and the results are interesting and consistent with other research we have found regarding this component of return to play criteria.

Young Athletes Who Return to Sport Before 9 Months After Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction Have a Rate of New Injury 7 Times That of Those Who Delay Return.

The Journal of Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy published an article this month on the association between sustaining a second ACL injury and time to return to sport. They studied 159 athletes involved in knee strenuous sport. Athletes who returned to sport before 9 months after reconstruction had an approximately 7-fold increased rate of sustaining a second ACL injury.

At Omaha Physical Therapy Institute (OPTI), we are always looking at safe and effective ways to return athletes to their sport after ACL reconstruction surgery.  Research like this helps us support our return to play recommendations.

OPTI specializes in ACL reconstruction rehabilitation.  We often utilize our Athletes In Motion (AIM) Clinic inside of the Omaha Sports Complex as part of the rehabilitation/return to play process.  The AIM clinic allows athletes exposure to a turf surface and an abundance of space with nets, and goals for sport specific agility and skill integration.  If you have had an ACL injury and/or surgery, give OPTI a call today at 402-934-8688!

Marc Hunley, PT, DPT

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Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, 2020 Volume:50 Issue:2 Pages:83–90 DOI: 10.2519/jospt.2020.9071


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