Coming back from a torn ACL injury

ACL InjuryOne of the most dreaded and feared injuries for athletes is a torn ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament). It has sidelined and affected many great athletes of different disciplines and ended several careers. But this type of injury is not exclusive for elite sports superstars, it can happen to anybody. It’s painful and it takes a slow recovery, but it is something that you can overcome.

Rupture of the ACL occurs when you make a sudden turn and there is an anterior displacement of the tibia with the foot fixed to the ground, going well beyond the limits of physiological resistance and elasticity of the anterior cruciate ligament.

The rupture may be partial or complete. In the case that it is partial, rehabilitation treatment will consist of trying to lower the inflammation and help the regeneration of the anterior cruciate ligament (with Electrotherapy, such as EMS and TENS therapy), also rehabilitation will focus on enhancing and building the musculature that governs the knee (quadriceps, hamstrings, and adductor twins), working mainly the quadriceps and more even the vastus lateralis, great emphasis in the proprioception.

The treatment of the complete rupture is surgical. There are different types of surgery; the most commonly used are the T2 or T4 (where there is a reconstruction of the ligament) and the HTH (uses the patellar tendon along with a fragment of bone from the ball and the tibia, you can be the patient's own or from a diseased donor).

After surgery, the minimum recovery a person with a torn ACL is estimated to be between four and six months, it is during this time that the person who suffered from the injury must follow some guidelines, in order of to come back from this injury.

First week: it is necessary to rest, put ice, compression, and elevation of the area. You may also use TENS therapy to mitigate the pain.

Second week: stitches will be removed, ice should be applied three times a day, also the patient must perform active exercises of knee flexion and hopefully receive massages that will serve to reduce the inflammation of the knee. Furthermore, the patient will be required to move with crutches.

Third week: The person should be able by now to move the knee, after a doctor has cleared that, the patient can begin to mobilize up to the threshold of pain. Swimming and re-education of the knee are some of the activities that experts recommend.

Fourth week: the person suffering from a torn ACL must start a proprioceptive and balance training, also to exercises to enhance the strength of the leg. Exercises and passive flexion of the knee. It is also advisable to start working with a stationary bike

Fist month and beyond:  the proprioceptive exercises are essential if you want to achieve a full recovery. In addition, the knee should be forced by the athlete to reach the levels of frequent movements, both in flexion and extension, perform strengthening exercises for the anterior and posterior muscles of the leg, and gradually increase the intensity of the sporting activities that you usually do.