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  • Writer's pictureDr. Josh Jordan

All Things ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament)

Updated: Jun 29, 2023

With school sports seasons starting up, it’s time to discuss all things ACL. The ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) connects the upper leg bone (femur) to the lower leg bone (tibia), and is a crucial structure for preventing too much straightening (hyperextension) and/or twisting of the knee.

graphic of ACL injury

An ACL injury can be overwhelming to the athlete. Not only is it painful, but it leads to missing out on playing your sport and sharing moments with friends and teammates. For some cases of ACL injuries, surgery is necessary to get back to the playing field, track, or gym. But what should you do in the time between your injury and surgery? And how quickly should surgery be scheduled?

**Disclaimer!! This process should be discussed with your doctor/surgeon and physical** **therapist as everybody’s injury is unique**

The first barrier is swelling: operating on a swollen knee is not advisable, so inflammation needs to be reduced before surgery can take place. However, it is now shown that attending 4-6 weeks of physical rehabilitation before surgery leads to better outcomes after surgery. This includes more than just decreasing swelling, but also improving active range of motion, improving movement efficiency and body mechanics, and improving strength in the injured leg as well as the non-injured leg.

One study shows that those who participate in preoperative rehab showed improved postoperative outcomes at 2 years after the operation. This is a huge deal! With approx 175,000 ACL surgeries performed each year in the United States alone, we need to make sure patients aren’t at risk to re-injure themselves once they return to sports, running, or the gym.

man playing sports injured on ground

Don’t go it alone! Zion Physical Therapy’s Doctors of Physical Therapy have years of experience treating preoperative and postoperative ACL injuries, and will help you achieve your goals through a structured rehab and return to sport program. Have a different injury keeping you out of the game? Schedule an evaluation today and get on track to feel better, faster!!

Ask about an injury screen to assess your movement to keep you on the playing field this season!

Call (212) 353-8693 or email to schedule!

Josh Jordan, DPT

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