The anterior cruciate ligament (or ACL) is one of the most important support structures of your knee. Torn ACL are common injuries among athletes and people who are physically active. The good news is that there is a high successful treatment for it—minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery. After the surgical procedure, patients are often referred to physical therapy specialists for a number of rehabilitation exercises that are appropriate for them. While it is always advisable to follow the program prescribed by your therapist, the following is a general rehabilitation protocol to give you an overview of what is involved in mobility exercises following a knee reconstruction surgery.
Like other rehabilitation exercises, knee mobility related exercises can begin before the ACL operative phase (if pain allows). Because mobility is very vital post surgery, the exercises should continue as soon as possible—within 2 weeks after surgery. It is important to note that the exercises shouldn’t be strenuous or painful to perform; it is advisable to work within what is commonly referred to as the pain free range of motion. The following are some of the top mobility exercises that you could be exposed to:
1. Knee flexion and extension
Involves gentle bending and straightening of the knee in bid to keep it mobile and boost the range of motion. It can be done when you are sitting, lying, or standing, provided that you are comfortable with the position.
2. Heel slides
Involves lying on your back and bending your knee to ensure that your foot stays in contact with the floor. You can also do it using a towel to pull the leg in.
3. Hamstring Stretch
This can also be done while sitting, lying down, or standing. You will need to gently take your leg beyond the limit of its comfortable range until you feel a gentle stretch at the back of you thigh.
4. Groin Stretch
This exercise is aimed at stretching the adductor muscles of your thighs. Sitting on the floor with both of your legs stretched out straight (or as far as you feel comfortable), lean forward from your hips until you feel a gentle stretch in your groin area.
These are the top 4 mobility exercises that many knee joint replacement Sydney doctors and therapists recommend for early phases of rehabilitation after ACL reconstruction surgery. Besides these mobility exercises and other exercises that are often recommended after undergoing ACL repair surgery, it is highly advised to follow ACL injury prevention guidelines given by your therapist to reduce risks of future injuries.