Most Efficient Recovery to Improve ACL Injuries

Most Efficient Recovery to Improve ACL Injuries

August 27, 2018

Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injures are common and are often treated with ACL reconstruction (rebuilding) in order to allow for a return to sports or daily activities without the knee giving out. Despite being a successful surgery in most cases, some patients still don’t feel as if their knee is where they want it to be — even after more than 6 months following surgery. In addition, some patients’ knees also get poor marks when evaluated objectively by a physical therapist.

This study looked at the ability of 8 weeks of a supervised jump training program to improve the overall function of these knees with reconstructed ACLs, but imperfect function. The results suggest that there are substantial subjective and objective improvements in the knees when this program is instituted. In addition, the likelihood of knee swelling (a sign of inflammation) was less if some of the weight was decreased during the first 6 weeks of the jump training.

It’s possible that these improvements in the knee decrease the risk of re-injury to the knee and could even reduce the likelihood of arthritis, but these claims are not definitively proven. So, if a patient hasn’t reached their goal by 6 months after ACL reconstruction, a specific jump training program, as described in this study, may be helpful in improving both the objective function and the subjective feel of the knee.

If your ACL reconstruction recovery isn’t where you’d like it to be by 6 months after surgery, a physical therapy program focusing on jump training may help you reach your goals.

Commentary by Dr. Russell Nord, M.D.

Dr. Russell Nord, M.D., is on the SimpleTherapy Clinical Advisory Board, the Orthopaedic Surgeon and Medical Director of Washington Hospital’s Sports Medicine Program and Orthopaedic Surgery Section Chair at Washington Hospital.

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