No matter how eager you are to get back in the game, you might as well decide right from the start that your recovery from an ACL knee injury will take time. You can’t force the process, because your ACL must have enough time to regain optimal strength and stability. For most patients, rehabilitation takes about nine months or longer.
But there are steps you can take to maximize the speed of your recovery. As sports medicine specialists, our team at Urgently Ortho supports your ACL recovery every step of the way. Here are a few tips to help you get back into the game faster.
From the moment of your injury and throughout your rehabilitation, participating in physical therapy is the best way to promote your recovery. Even if you have surgery, physical therapy generally starts within a week after your procedure.
Your physical therapy program is structured to relieve your pain, gradually increase motion, strengthen the surrounding muscles, and improve the ability to control your knee.
As we guide your rehabilitation, we push you enough so progress is as rapid as possible, while ensuring you don’t put more stress on your healing knee than it can manage.
You might figure this tip is just part of engaging in physical therapy, but we believe it deserves to be highlighted. There’s an important difference between participating in your physical therapy sessions versus following your exercise instructions at home.
We can’t over-emphasize the importance of following your prescribed activity plan. The bottom line is that the speed of your recovery is directly related to how well you adhere to your exercise program.
Recovery from an ACL injury depends on following a stepwise process no matter how slowly it seems to progress. When you don’t follow the program, either by doing less or more than prescribed, you won’t build the foundational strengths that allow your knee to support more stress. As a result, you’re at risk for slowing your recovery and re-injuring your ACL.
If you feel up to doing more activity than we recommend, talk to us first so we can evaluate your knee and determine whether it’s safe to add more to your rehabilitation. We’re open seven days a week, and you don’t need an appointment, so stop by before you deviate from your prescribed activity level.
To avoid stressing your knee, you should do all your exercises with the proper form. We fully explain each element in your rehabilitation plan so you can safely exercise without risk of harm.
Your body uses more nutrients than normal when healing from an ACL injury. Without sufficient nutrition, your recovery slows. To support healing, your body especially needs:
Rehabilitation from an ACL injury is also not the time to skimp on calories. Some of our patients cut back on their caloric intake when an ACL injury stops them from staying active, but you need about 15-20 calories per pound of body weight to fuel healing. Without enough calories, your body breaks down muscles for energy, which slows your recovery.
If you need help rehabilitating from an ACL injury, call Urgently Ortho at 480-531-6007, book an appointment online, or walk in to the clinic.