One of the most common injuries among active individuals, the anterior cruciate ligament can often be torn by a sudden twisting motion of the knee. There are millions of ACL injuries every year and by now sports medicine doctors and specialized physical therapists have surgery and recovery options down to a fine art. While it may be your physical therapist's millionth time working on an ACL recovery, chances are this is your first and you might not know what to expect. Here are just a few things you may not know about your injury and some tips on a great recovery.
1.) A ligament is a band of fibrous tissues that connect two or more bones to a joint. The ACL connects the thigh bone to the shin bone and stabilizes the knee joint. When the ligament tears, there is huge instability in the knee which greatly hinders movement. Since ligaments, unlike muscles, do not have their own blood supply they cannot heal on their own requiring physical therapy and possibly even surgery.
2.) Depending on your level of physical activity and the degree of your injury you may or may not need surgery. Either way, however, you are going to need physical therapy to heal your ACL injury. Carefully consider your options when weighing the decision to have surgery, but definitely plan a long course of physical therapy into your ACL recovery plan.
3.) Make sure your physical therapist is also addressing how to stabilize and strengthen your knee for when you return to sport or just get back to daily activities. Regaining motion, mobility, and strength are key elements to your recovery but keep in mind that you'll be back on the court/field/track and you want to have firm footing so you don't suffer another ACL setback.
4.) Plan on anywhere from 4 to 12 months spent on your physical therapy to heal, stabilize, and strengthen your ACL injury.
Whether you're an athlete recovering from an ACL tear or a professional "weekend warrior," we understand you're busy and working pt into your routine might be a drag. Both our Irvington and New York City physical therapy offices are state of the art facilities staffed with amazing therapists. We are around seven days a week in either location and our facilities are so amazing, you might not even feel like you're in the middle of an intensive physical therapy program.