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  • Writer's picturePatrick Wood

3 ACL Reconstruction Myths You Thought Were True

The journey back to sport and activity post ACL injury takes hard work and commitment. A properly guided rehab progressing you back to sporting activities as well as educating you on the process is extremely important. Here are a few common myths and misconceptions about ACL rehab.



1. I have to stop everything and cannot train


While there is a phase of recovery that needs to happen initially to the surgical leg and a slower approach will have to be taken there, the whole rest of the body is fair game. It is helpful to identify certain goals the athlete wants to achieve before the return to sport or activity in this stage to integrating and planning for the rehab process. If the athlete wants to add a little more muscle before returning or increase their overall fitness, we can start to focus on those things as performance metrics while we also rehab the ACL. This can make the athlete feel as they are also training for something and improving themselves rather than regressing with an injury. Modifications to this will have to be made such as making sure upper body work doesn’t require the use of the injured leg during the early phase of rehab so machines or seated movements could be prioritised. Conditioning might not be the most entertaining as the first stages might be a seated ski erg or arms only assault bike, but it will be something else the athlete can focus on improving in the long term and help take their mind of the injury.


2. I can do a few exercises here and there and get back to being active/playing sport.



As mentioned, ACL rehab takes a lot of commitment and hard work. There are many components that need to be challenged to get back to return to sport level such as proper range of motion, good muscle capacity, muscle strength, muscles ability to produce force quickly, balance, coordination, running mechanics, change of direction mechanics, ability to multitask and react to multiple things without thinking of the knee, etc. The injure site needs to be challenged so it can adapt and improve. If minimal to no rehab is commenced, there won’t be a stimulus given to the knee to challenged it in a way to cause it to adapt and improve. This also means completing the full process. The rehab doesn’t stop when walking and doing daily actives without issues is achieved. If the goal is to return to sport, it has to be built back up to be able to handle those demands which are majorly more stressful than walking.


3. I can run at 4 months, I can return to sport at 9 months.



Everyone progresses slightly different. Most people have their operations done by a different surgeon, they have different daily stresses, their bodies are different, etc. There are some general rules for biological tissue healing times that need to be respected to make sure that takes place properly, but once those are surpassed, timelines aren’t as important as ability to achieve certain criteria and function. Some people can run at 4 months because they have ticked off the boxes that we want to see before we allow them to run. Others should not be running at 4 months because they still don’t have some basic physical characteristics developed properly. Same with returning to sport, some are ready around 9 months because they have passed all the tests and have trained well for a period of time, others still have work to do.


For more information surrounding ACL rehabilitation and how the team here at Game Time can help, call 0731280300 or email info@gametimephysio.com.au to speak to a physio.

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