You were enjoying yourself outdoors, playing your favorite sport, and BAM! You fell, twisted your leg the wrong way, or made some movement that caused you to hear a pop coming from your knee. You knew then the problem was serious, and you were right. ACL, or anterior cruciate ligament, injuries are no laughing matter, and an injury in this area can require different types of treatments, from rest to surgery. But when you’re ready to get active again, how is this done?
Dr. Steven E. Nolan and the rest of our team at our Sugar Land, Texas practice, wants you to learn as much as you possibly can about this common sports injury. We also want to offer you specialized treatment options for severe injuries, such as ACL reconstruction. No matter which treatment you require, we know you’re going to want to get active again as soon as possible, and here’s how.
First and foremost…
The very beginning of your rehabilitation after your injury, and, if necessary, your surgery, starts with regaining your full range of motion and being able to bear weight on your injured knee. This is absolutely essential before you can start running, jumping, and playing the sport you love again.
You can start out in the first week or two just weaning yourself off your crutches and working to bear the weight of your body on the injured knee. You should also work on passive and extension exercises that can help you gain back your range of motion.
Of course, you’ll need to wait until Dr. Nolan says you’re ready for these kinds of exercises. Jumping right into rehab after surgery can be a mistake, and Dr. Nolan will have the final say when it comes to getting you ready for activities again.
The next two-six weeks will involve increasing your range of motion and strength training. You’ll want to make sure that your knee can handle the weight of your body before you start getting into harder exercises. These can include balance, core, and resistance exercises you can do on your own, as well as activities like swimming and riding a stationary bike.
Once you’ve mastered these exercises, you may be able to start putting more focus on building knee flexibility and strength. This kind of focus should go along with the activities you have already been doing and can sometimes take between four and six weeks.
Once you reach the 12-14-week mark, you may be able to start light jogging. It is here you will begin to see all your hard work paying off. Of course, it’s essential that you warm up before every jogging session and that you continue your appointments with Dr. Nolan to ensure that everything is healing correctly.
A note on your recovery
We understand how important your day-to-day activities are to you, and we know how much you want to get back in the game. But if you don’t give your body the time it needs to heal and the strength it needs to carry you, you will struggle for much longer and potentially have even more serious problems down the line.
Also, not everyone follows the exact same timeline of recovery, which is why the numbers include ranges. Remember that you’re building a foundation for long-term functionality, and always remind yourself that your body’s health comes before any scoring play or outdoor activity.
Want to learn more about getting active after your ACL injury?
Would you like to talk to Dr. Nolan about surgery? Call 281-720-6910 to make an appointment, or schedule an appointment online at your earliest convenience.