What Type Of Therapy Is Needed After ACL Reconstruction?

Your knee carry numerous responsibilities. This major joint comprised of various bones and soft tissues connects the upper and lower portions of your leg, and enables you to bend, run, walk, jump, and execute many other pertinent exercises.

Unfortunately, the pressure placed on your knee renders their components susceptible to physical injury. One such malady is an ACL injury.

ACL Overview

ACL is an abbreviation for the anterior cruciate ligament. This structure, which connects your thigh and shin bones, also plays an important role in maintaining your knee’s stability.

Causes For Injury

Though this collection of soft tissue could wear down gradually, damage usually occurs following an acute traumatic event. In most cases, said occurrences happen as the result of awkward twisting or turning of the knee or forceful knee contact during athletic competition.

Orthopedic professionals suggest that your chances of incurring an ACL injury might increase if you are female, wear improperly sized or fitting shoes, and engage in contact sports.


If you experience a torn or ruptured ACL, you may encounter physical manifestations such as intense knee pain, a sudden popping sound emanating from your knee, quick and abundant swelling, knee instability, difficulty turning the knee, or engaging in simple activities like walking or standing.

ACL Reconstruction

If you are athletic, experience intense knee pain, or sustained a serious tear or rupture, your doctor will likely recommend reconstructive surgery.

During this procedure, an orthopedic surgeon removes the damaged portion of the ligament and replaces said structure with a section of tendon, which is another type of soft tissue similar in makeup to a ligament. In medical terminology, this replacement is known as a graft.

In many instances, the tendon will be procured from somewhere in your body. However, said grafts might come from a donor.


Following surgery, you will require significant rehabilitation. Typically, this recovery period is highlighted by a prolonged course of physical therapy. Post-reconstruction therapy is overseen by a medical professional titled physical therapist.
This healthcare provider will create a program comprised of exercises geared towards helping your knee heal and regain its previous form.

Typically, physical therapy is performed over several phases:

Phase One

During the initial therapeutic stage, the focus centers on expediting your knee’s healing process. Therefore, you will likely be walking using crutches and have your knee in a brace to prevent exposing the physical structure to pressure or further injury. That said, recipients will exercise their thigh muscles to re-strengthen their upper legs.

Phase Two

Once the swelling diminishes, attention shifts to standing and walking without crutches. The second stage will take several weeks and involves exercises designed to improve the strength and motion range in your hip muscles and hamstrings.

By the end of this phase, you should be able to stand and walk without support. Hip-related exercises will grow more advanced and pronounced and you might begin performing leg exercises using light weights.

Phase Three

As phase three progresses, emphasis is placed on strengthening your legs. During this stage’s first several weeks, you will engage in movements geared towards improving your balance and performing more challenging leg exercises. By stage’s end, you may be able to partake in light jogging.

Phase Four

By this point, you will likely be able to walk, jog, or even run without much pain or difficulty. That said, for several more months, you will be required to engage in movements created to increase your knee’s strength and stability.

Contacting Us

If you have been diagnosed with an ACL injury or are experiencing the associated symptoms, please contact the Plano Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Center. We employ a team of knowledgeable, acclaimed, board-certified physicians possessing a dearth of experiencing executing such procedures.

For more about our practice or to schedule a consultation, please visit http://www.posmc.com.