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Posted on 12-08-2014

by Dr. Brian Schuman

The ACL, or Anterior Cruciate Ligament, is a ligament located inside the knee joint. It is primarily responsible for stabilizing the knee and preventing the shin from sliding forwards or rotating. The ACL is commonly injured during sporting activities, most commonly when twisting the knee when the foot is planted on the ground.

When an ACL is torn, surgical correction is usually indicated. The ligament can be replaced with a ligament from your own body (autograph), or the use of a cadaver ligament (allograph).  The procedure is usually an outpatient procedure and you are able to walk with the use of crutches and sometimes a brace.

The rehabilitation process is usually performed in phases, and can last up to 6 months for higher level athletes. Phase 1 last for approximately 3 weeks, and is mainly focused on decreasing pain, inflammation and achieving full extension of the knee.  Phase 2 takes place between weeks 3-6, and is focused on restoring full knee ROM, and beginning to gain strength, work on walking correctly, and performing activities of daily living. Phase 3 can last from week s7 - 14, and is mainly geared toward increasing strength, ROM, stability of the knee, and returning back to pre-injury activities, i.e. sports, hobbies, exercise.

Utilizing a multidisciplinary approach to the rehab process can also aid in recovery. The use of crutches and walking differently can cause other parts of the body to become sore and not work properly, Chiropractic care can help correct neck, hip and low back problems that arise, and acupuncture and massage therapy can work out soft tissue restrictions, all of which can speed up recovery.

Presented by:  Brian Schuman, PT, DPT, CMPT

Pictures obtained from: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org

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