ACL rehab

strengthening your body

ACL Rehab Operative or Non

You read that right. ACL tears can be treated with surgery or without surgery. Some will benefit from have ACL reconstructive surgery as there is significant instability throughout the limb however there are plenty of individuals who will be able to cope and return to sport without reconstructing the ACL.

In the United States and around the world, ACL rehab has been the primary form of treatment for a torn ACL, however emerging research suggests that many people will not need to undergo surgery when they meet certain criteria.

Regardless of whether you are receiving surgery or not, reducing swelling and strengthening the injured leg is absolutely critical prior to receiving surgery. Athletes who strengthen the leg, particularly the quadriceps, end up having much better outcomes than people who rush into surgery. Here is a sample of what a rehab program for ACL reconstruction or non-surgical management will look like for an athlete at Kadalyst:

1. Quad sets – practicing extending knee and maintaining full extension with a quadricep contraction (see video below)
2. Knee extension – strengthening of the quadriceps
3. Hamstring curls – improving strength of hamstrings (see video below)
4. Mini Squats (see video below)
5. Single leg balance
6. Squats (see video below)
7. Deadlifts (see video below)
8. Blood flow restriction training (as appropriate)
9. Multi directional jumping

At Kadalyst we are forward thinking and up-to-date on the research. We collect objective data at various points throughout the rehab process to ensure that you are 100% good to return to sport. This includes:

1. Knee extension torque (how much force your quad produces). We compare side to side differences as this is incredibly important for return to sport criteria.
2. Total leg extension torque. We have a device (force plate) which calculates exactly how much force your leg produces and how fast it produces it. This is incredibly important for athletes to know if they have limb symmetry.
3. Hop tests – single leg hops and triple leg hops are crucial to recognize differences in limbs in both power output and methods of producing force. We use this to find compensatory strategies and then address them. (see video below)
4. Single leg squat test. We also use this test to measure limb symmetry and is one of our return to sport (RTS) categories.

Among these tests we also use an athletes readiness questionnaire which not only assesses physical readiness, but mental readiness in return to sport. You’ve probably heard the sayings “it’s all mental,” or “it’s 90% mental,” well, there is some truth to these statements. Having confidence in your leg after surgery or during non-surgical management is incredibly important when returning to sport. Without confidence, your likelihood of re-injury is much higher.

With that being said, we not only focus on the physical aspects of recovery, but also on the mental game. We’ll be coaching you every step of the way.

If you have torn your ACL and are getting surgery or you would like to explore non-surgical options, we are here for you! Give us a call to schedule your free consultation below!

We highly recommend checking out this resource to help you gain an incredible understanding (more than most patients and even doctors have) of what it takes to get back to your sports or activities. –> We utilize this protocol with all of our athletes.

Early – Mid Stage Rehab

Late Stage Rehab


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