5 ways to enhance your ACL rehabAugust 24, 2018 | by By Tony Giannikouris, Hydrotherapy Coach, Performance Rehabilitation Coach
The Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) is one of the most important ligaments in the knee, critical to joint stabilization. It is also one of the most commonly injured ligaments in sport.
Once torn, reconstructive surgery is often recommended, followed by a lengthy rehabilitation period. During this time, you will go through a rigorous program to recover and prepare for your return to sport and activity. This often includes support from a physiotherapist and strength and conditioning coach. At Fortius, we have a comprehensive ACL pathway that also utilizes performance rehabilitation coaches, who have specialized knowledge and expertise working with sport injuries.
There are many things that can improve the rehabilitation process. Below are five things to consider, and how a performance rehabilitation coach can help.
1) Early conditioning
It’s understandable that following a major knee injury, the motivation to train may be low and you may be unsure of what to do. However, it’s important and encouraging to realize that putting in work pre-surgery and in the early post-operative period will pay off further down the road.
If aerobic fitness, muscle size, and general strength are not well maintained, these will have to be recovered first before engaging in higher level activities, such as running. When you are cleared to initiate later stage exercises, the already strong musculature can accelerate your progress.
If you’re unsure of what to do, see a performance rehabilitation coach to receive a training program of appropriate exercises for ACL injury.
The ACL recovery process is long and takes a high degree of commitment. Taking an active responsibility in your rehabilitation and embracing this challenging journey can turn it into a more positive experience.
Training in ways you never have before is an opportunity to grow as an athlete and a person. Through learning good habits and how to take care of your body, you may become more resilient both physically and mentally.
Performance Rehabilitation Coaches and other professionals in your support network can help guide you through this, but ultimately your results will depend on the dedication and hard work you put in. You have a high degree of control over your success.
Hydrotherapy, in the early stages of rehabilitation (as well as before surgery), can be a valuable tool. When submerged in water, the impact on joints and muscles is reduced by up to 85%. This allows for running, jumping, and some strength exercises to be done earlier than they otherwise could be on land.
The reduced impact and increased resistance will allow you to develop higher levels of movement quality, strength, and aerobic fitness earlier. When transitioning out of the water, not only will you have further developed these qualities already, the exercises will be much more familiar and easier to progress.
At Fortius, hydrotherapy is performed in a Hydroworx™ 2000 Underwater Treadmill.
4) Measures and Goals
It’s hard to know what to do if you don’t know where you’re at, or where you need to go. There are many known risk factors associated with ACL injuries that can be improved.
Measuring these along the way can show you where your specific strengths and weaknesses are in order to guide your training, and can also be motivating to show you how far you’ve come! Goal setting is very effective at driving your efforts, and you should feel empowered to have a say in defining both short and long term goals that can be re-evaluated along the way, done in accordance with good rehabilitation principles.
In the Fortius ACL Pathway, clinical and gym-based measures are used along the way. In addition, our state of the art lab testing provides in depth analysis of biomechanics and forces that are beyond what can be assessed by the human eye.
5) Developing Well Rounded Athleticism with Solid Fundamentals
Throughout the process, you will have the opportunity to rebuild yourself as an athlete from the ground up, while examining strength, conditioning, and ways of moving in more detail than you’ve ever done before. You may have preferred sports and activities, and a program should ultimately be designed to return you to the level you desire.
Having a previous ACL injury puts you at a higher risk for future injury, so effective rehabilitation will cover most major aspects of athleticism. Performance Rehabilitation Coaches are specialized in helping athletes develop all fundamental athletic qualities.
They are committed to working together with physiotherapists to progress athletes all the way up to their previous levels of function and beyond, addressing and improving risk factors that may have been present before the injury. In the end, there is the potential to return better than ever!
THE ACL PATHWAY AT FORTIUS
At Fortius, we have set out to change the game for ACL rehabilitation, through a five-phase, integrated ACL pathway.
The pathway utilizes the expertise of our therapy team, performance rehabilitation coaches and applied sports scientists, to ensure our clients have the best chance of safe return to their sport or activity.
To book in, please contact a Fortius Client Experience Facilitator at 604-292-2594.