Rehabilitation Guide
Rehabilitation Guide
Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction
Contents
General Information
Anterior Cruciate Ligament
Reconstruction
Terminology and Education
Phase 1
Acute Management, Early Motion and Basic
Movement Retraining
Phase 2
Basic Strength and Proprioception
Phase 3
Dynamic Neuromotor Strength,
Endurance and Coordination
Phase 4
Athletic Enhancement and Return to Activity
Phase 5
Rehabilitation of Athletic Movement
and Return to Sport
Physical Therapy
Evaluation Sheets
The world-class health care
team for the UW Badgers
and proud sponsor of
UW Athletics
General Information
Before Your Surgery
Day Before and Day Of Surgery
Before your surgery you will have appointments in
two clinics: Sports Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine.
In most cases these appointments will be scheduled
sequentially on the same day. The appointments with
your physical therapist and your surgeon will occur at
UW Health Sports Medicine. You may also need to be
seen in the Anesthesia Screening Clinic. This will be
determined by the physician assistant during your
appointment at the Sports Medicine Clinic.
1. Do not eat or drink after 12:00 am on the day of your
surgery.
2. Scrub your leg with the Hibiclens the night before and
the morning of your surgery.
Remember to bring the following items to the hospital for
your surgery:
Sports Rehabilitation appointment
During this appointment you will:
• be fitted with and given instructions in proper use of
crutches (if you don’t already have some)
• instructed in the use of a postoperative cooling unit
• review your immediate postoperative exercises
• have a KT-1000 test to measure the laxity in your knee
• set up additional postoperative appointments,
approximately two times a week for 2-3 weeks
Sports Medicine Clinic appointment
During this appointment a pre-surgical physical and an
examination of your knee will be performed. You will
also have an opportunity to discuss the surgery with your
physician. You will also be given prescriptions for pain
medication and anti-inflammatory/pain medication.
You will need to fill these prescriptions prior to surgery.
The prescription pain medication will expire if it is not
filled within two weeks of issuance. Staff will inform you
when you should stop eating and drinking prior
to surgery.
•crutches
•shorts
• comfortable and secure walking shoes
Incision and Drain Care
The use of a drain will be determined by your surgeon.
If you have a small drain in your knee, your nurse will
show you how to empty the drain and measure the
drainage before you go home. If the reservoir becomes
full, it can easily be emptied from the side opening.
Measure the amount of drainage in the morning, or
sooner if the reservoir is full. It is usual to have a decrease
in the amount of drainage. It is normal to see some clot
formation in the tubing. Do not shower while the drain is
in your knee.
Keep your dressings dry. A wet dressing is a prime site for
bacterial growth. If you shower, you must use a secure
plastic wrap to keep your knee dry. If your dressing has
visible drainage, your physical therapist may change the
dressing before your two-week follow up with the doctor.
Watch for signs of infection which include fever greater
than 100˚ F, chills, redness at the incision, increased knee
pain not associated with activity, or cloudy,
pus-like drainage from your incision.
Anesthesia Screening Clinic appointment
You may be asked to see the Anesthesia Screening Clinic
if you have certain illnesses or past problems with
anesthesia. Any questions that you may have about the
anesthesia will also be addressed.
Rehabilitation Guide: Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction
Copyright 2016 UW Health Sports Medicine
uwsportsmedicine.org
2
Day After Surgery
Swelling Control
• Most patients are seen the day after surgery to begin
their post-operative rehabilitation, your surgeon will
determine this. If you have a small drain in your knee
it will be removed prior to your rehabilitation/physical
therapy appointment. During this appointment your
physical therapist or athletic trainer will help you begin
the phase one exercises and also make sure your are
walking and moving about safely. It is usually helpful
to take your pain medication prior to the removal of
the drain and start of the rehabilitation.
During the first 24-48 hours after surgery, you may run
your cooling unit continually. For days 2-7, you should
use the cooling unit 4-6 times per day for about 45
minutes each time. The frequency of icing after the first 7
days will depend on how well your swelling is controlled.
More swelling will require more icing. When you are
not using the cooling unit, you should remove the pad
over the knee. The pad should be removed for at least
eight hours per day. This will prevent condensation from
forming underneath the pad. If you have a reconstruction
using a hamstring graft, you may find it helpful for pain
relief to alternate the position of the polar pad between
the front of your knee and the posterior medial (back
inside) aspect of your knee where the incision is located.
Be sure to have ample ice at home.
• You should begin the exercises prescribed for you on
the first day after your surgery. These exercises were
explained to you by your physical therapist or athletic
trainer at your pre-surgical appointment.
• You should weight bear as tolerated on your surgical
leg, using crutches to assist you in walking. Your
surgeon will determine if you also need to use a brace
post-operatively. Putting the foot on the floor with some
pressure will reduce your risk of falling.
• When you are not using your cooling unit, you should
remove the polar pad, without removing the dressings
underneath the pad, to allow the dressings to air out.
This will prevent condensation from forming on those
dressings. Do this a couple times each day after surgery.
Elevation and compression will also help to decrease
swelling. While icing, you should try to elevate your knee
above your heart. When you are not icing, an ACE® wrap
may be used for compression. The ACE® wrap should
always be more snug below the knee and less snug above
the knee, to push the fluid towards the heart and not
towards the foot.
White Compression Stocking
You may stop wearing the white compression stocking
on your non-operative leg after 24-48 hours. This
compression stocking helps prevent a blood clot from
forming in your leg. Once you are walking frequently you
will no longer need the stocking. If you develop lower leg
swelling, tenderness, and/or redness, please contact the
Sports Medicine Clinic or the Sports Rehabilitation Clinic.
Brace
Your surgeon will determine if it is necessary for you to
wear a brace after surgery. This will depend on the time
of year, other injuries in addition to the ACL tear and type
of procedure you have done. If your meniscus is repaired
you will have a brace that keeps your knee locked while
weight bearing for the first few weeks, but you will be
able to unlock the brace or remove it for range of motion
exercises that are non-weight bearing. Your surgeon and
physical therapist or athletic trainer will determine when
you can begin to remove the brace.
Rehabilitation Guide: Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction
Copyright 2017 UW Health Sports Medicine
uwsportsmedicine.org
3
Return to Work
Returning to work will vary for each person. Even if you
have a desk job, you will want to be off work for 7-10
days. If you do not have a desk job, your return to work
will be related to how well you are able to control the
swelling and protect the knee from potentially dangerous
movements.
Rehabilitation
You will be working with a physical therapist or an
athletic trainer who will determine the frequency of
appointments needed, based primarily on your progress.
The recovery of strength, balance and movement control
will occur over 4-8 months. Your compliance with your
rehab program will be the main determinant in the
return of your strength, balance and movement control.
Return to certain activities and sports will depend on how
stressful the activity is on your knee as well as strength,
balance, and movement control. Return to high demand
Rehabilitation Guide: Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction
Copyright 2017 UW Health Sports Medicine
sports such as basketball and soccer is approximately
six months. Ultimately your return to certain activities
and full return to sports is not based on a specific time
frame but instead on your demonstrated ability to do
sport related movements safely. This is a function of your
strength, balance, power, mobility, landing mechanics,
endurance and mental readiness. Your physician and
rehab team (physical therapist and/or athletic trainer)
will decide when you are able to safely return to sports
without restrictions based on various performance tests.
Driving
You may return to driving when you feel comfortable and
when you have adequate reaction time. It is in your best
interest not to drive (unless it is the left knee and you
are driving an automatic transmission) until your brace
is unlocked. Also remember, it is unsafe to drive while
taking narcotic pain medication (for example, Percocet
or Codeine).
uwsportsmedicine.org
4
Special Precautions
Certain procedures may require slight modifications to
the normal ACL post-operative restrictions. Please see the
list of procedures and associated precautions:
Meniscal repair
Patients of Drs. Baer and Walczak should not perform
any weight bearing with knee flexion (bending) for four
weeks. This requires the patient to wear the brace locked
while walking for four weeks. This protects the meniscal
repair sutures and anchors. You are allowed to work on
flexion range of motion in non-weight bearing positions.
While performing these exercises, be cautious to avoid a
pinching type discomfort or pain in the back of the knee.
Patients of Dr. Scerpella do not have any precautions
for range of motion or weight bearing when a meniscal
repair is performed with an ACL reconstruction.
The above precautions are the “standard” precautions
for each surgeons usual procedure, but these precautions
may change based on location or size of meniscus tear,
time of year or patient’s weight.
Allograft (cadaver) ACL graft
With an allograft, it is important to realize that pain is not
a sufficient guide for activity. Often with this procedure you
will have less pain, but the graft still requires significant
time for healing. Follow your physical therapist’s or
athletic trainer’s instructions carefully. Also, patients
should not do more than 10-15 minutes of biking per day
to avoid repetitive stress as the graft is healing.
Microfracture
Patients need to modify the normal weight bearing
progression to protect the healing fibrocartilage matrix.
During the first two weeks, patients should be non-weight
bearing (no weight placed on the involved leg), and
during weeks three and four they should be touchdown
weight bearing (20-30 lbs.). At the start of week five, they
can slowly begin to put more weight on the involved
leg with the goal of achieving full weight bearing by six
weeks, post-operatively. During this time, the brace may
be unlocked if the patient has good leg control.
OATS procedure (allograft or autograft)
Patients need to modify the normal weight bearing
progression to protect the healing cartilage plug(s).
During the first three weeks patients should be nonweight bearing (no weight placed on the involved leg),
and during weeks four through six they should be
touchdown weight bearing (20-30 lbs.). At the start of
week seven, they can slowly begin to put more weight on
the involved leg with the goal of achieving full weight
bearing by seven to eight weeks, post-operatively. During
the first six weeks the brace should be locked in extension
(straight).
Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) Injury
If a patient has a concominant MCL injury they may be
braced longer after ACL surgery. If the MCL is not operated
on but still healing this may protect it more, if the MCL is
repaired it will protect the repair until healed.
“Over the Top” ACL reconstruction
(skeletally immature knee patient)
This procedure is used for young patients who have a
very open physis at the distal femur. Patients should
not perform any weight bearing with knee flexion
(bending) for six weeks. This requires the patient to wear
the brace locked while walking for six weeks, although
when the brace is locked they can put weight on it.
They may work on gentle flexion in non-weightbearing
positions. The patient will not be starting Phase 2 of the
rehabilitation guide until six to eight weeks after surgery
and subsequently all timeframes should be adjusted by an
additional six weeks.
Rehabilitation Guide: Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction
Copyright 2017 UW Health Sports Medicine
uwsportsmedicine.org
5
Understanding the
Anterior Cruciate Ligament
Anatomy
The knee joint is composed of the femur (thigh bone),
tibia (shinbone), and the patella (knee cap). The knee
joint is primarily a hinge joint, but it does allow a slight
amount of rotation during bending and straightening
movements. Sitting between the tibia and femur are two
pads of cartilage called the medial meniscus and lateral
meniscus (collectively termed “menisci”). The menisci
act as shock absorbers between the femur and the tibia
that protect the joint surfaces. The shape of the menisci
increases the concavity of the tibial surface, which
enhances the stability of the knee joint (Figure 1).
ACL
stimulated, the central nervous system activates muscles
around the knee to bring the joint into a more stable
position. Thus, the overall function of the ACL gives the
knee joint stability during movement.
Mechanisms of Injury
There are two typical mechanisms of injury that lead to
a torn ACL. The primary mechanism is a shearing of the
ACL when a sudden shifting occurs between the tibia and
the femur. This can occur when a person is running and
attempts to rapidly slow down and change direction at the
same time, or attempts to turn quickly after the foot has
been planted.
The second mechanism is hyperextension of the knee
causing failure of the ligament from excessive stretching.
Hyperextension can occur as a result of landing from a
jump with the knee extended or by sustaining a blow to
the front of an extended knee.
Diagnosis
Menisci
Figure 1. View of the front of the knee with the patella
removed
A ligament is a bundle of connective tissue that connects
one bone to another bone. The anterior cruciate ligament
(ACL) is one of the four major ligaments in the knee
that connect the tibia to the femur. The ACL is located
in the center of the knee along with the posterior
cruciate ligament (PCL). The ACL’s primary function
is to prevent the tibia from shifting forward under the
femur and to control the amount of rotation in the
knee joint. Embedded in the ACL are nerve endings
and mechanoreceptors, called proprioceptors, that send
signals to the brain and central nervous system about the
joint position of the knee. When these nerve endings are
Rehabilitation Guide: Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction
Copyright 2017 UW Health Sports Medicine
The diagnosis of a torn ACL is often suspected from the
description of the injury and immediate after effects.
In addition to describing a mechanism listed above,
85% of patients will feel a pop at the time of injury and
most will have significant swelling within two to three
hours of injury. Almost all athletes will have to stop
playing because of the injury. Specific clinical exam
tests and the use of a KT 1000 can be used to determine
if the knee is loose (laxity) which may indicate a torn
ACL. An MRI provides an image of the ligaments of the
knee and determine if the ACL is torn (Figure 2). Often
times an MRI is used to determine the presence of other
injuries, such as meniscal tears, chondral lesions or other
ligament injuries, whether or not the ACL is torn.
Consequences of Injury
If the ACL is torn, the stability of the knee joint is
compromised. This may lead to episodes of knee
instability or giving way, particularly during activities that
require jumping or changing directions quickly. Repeated
episodes of knee instability increase the risk for injury to
the menisci and may lead to premature degeneration of
the joint surfaces.
uwsportsmedicine.org
6
Patellar Tendon Graft
Hamstring
Tendon
Graft
Normal ACL
Figure 3: Donor sites for patellar tendon and
hamstring tendon grafts
Patellar Tendon Graft
Torn ACL
Figure 2: MRI images of the ligaments of the knee
Treatment Options for a Torn ACL
Surgery is not always indicated for, nor desired by
everyone who tears his or her ACL. In some cases it is
possible to do well by following a rehabilitation program
and avoiding activities that require cutting and/or
pivoting movements.
If surgery is chosen, the patient should undergo a
preoperative physical therapy exercise program to
regain normal knee range of motion, decrease pain and
swelling and strengthen the musculature around the
knee. This may last three to six weeks, but will allow the
postoperative course to progress faster.
Surgical reconstruction involves replacing the torn ACL
with a graft. The most common grafts used are the
patellar tendon graft, the hamstring tendon graft and an
allograft (cadaver).
Rehabilitation Guide: Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction
Copyright 2017 UW Health Sports Medicine
Figure 4: Example of a bone-patellar tendon-bone
graft using two interference screws
The patellar tendon graft is usually taken from the
knee that has the torn ACL, although occasionally the
patellar tendon of the uninjured knee may be utilized.
In this procedure, the central third of the patellar tendon
is removed along with a bone plug at each end of the
tendon.
uwsportsmedicine.org
7
One bone plug is taken from the patella and the other is
harvested from the tibia (Figure 3). Tunnels are drilled in
the femur and the tibia near the normal attachment sites
for the ACL.
The patellar tendon graft is then threaded through the
tunnels so that it is placed where the original ACL was
located. The bone plugs of the graft are then anchored
with screws into the femur and tibia.
The disadvantage of the patellar tendon graft is that
patients occasionally have problems with anterior knee
pain or patellar tendonitis because of the location from
which the tendon graft was taken.
Removing the central third of the patellar tendon often
causes more immediate post-operative stiffness than
using a hamstring graft. This may require more initial
work with range of motion exercises.
Hamstring Tendon Graft
The hamstring tendon graft is also usually taken from the
knee that has the torn ACL. A strip of tendon is taken from
two muscles, the semitendinosus and gracilis. These two
muscles are located on the back of the knee on the inner
(medial) side. The two tendons are then put together to
make one graft. This graft does not have attached bone.
Tunnels are drilled in the femur and the tibia at the
normal attachment sites for the ACL. The hamstring graft
is then threaded through the tunnels so that it is placed
in the location of the original ACL. The graft is anchored
in the tibia and femur with either screws or buttons
(Figure 5). Another advantage of the hamstring graft
procedure is that there is usually less postoperative pain
and tendonitis.
Quadricep Tendon Graft
A quad tendon graft is usually taken from the knee that
has the torn ACL. A strip of tendon is taken from above
the knee cap, including a small piece of the knee cap as
well. This bone creates a bone plug for fixation with an
interference screw in the tibial tunnel and the tendon
is placed in the femoral tunnel with soft tissue fixation
techniques. The advantages of this graft are that a thick
and adequate graft can be easily harvested and may
create less donor site symptoms and less quadriceps
inhibition than the patellar tendon graft.
Allograft
Figure 5: Example of a hamstring tendon graft using
an endobutton on the femoral side and a interfix
screw on the tibial side.
The hamstring graft is a relatively newer graft than the
patellar graft, but evidence supports that it is a good
option. Recent studies have shown success rates and
return to sport times to be similar to those of patellar
tendon grafts.
Rehabilitation Guide: Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction
Copyright 2017 UW Health Sports Medicine
An allograft is tissue used from a cadaver. This could be a
bone-patellar tendon-bone graft (Figure 4) or a soft tissue
graft (hamstrings, Achilles). The potential advantages
of an allograft include less chance of patellofemoral
symptoms, shorter operative time, availability of larger
grafts, smaller scars on your skin and the possibility
for multiple ligament reconstructions.3 Possible
disadvantages include increased cost, sub-optimal healing
leading to a potential graft rupture, disease transmission
and immune reactions. These cases have been reported,
but are extremely rare.
The UW Health Sports Medicine physicians use all of the
grafts described above to best meet the needs of their
patients. It is important to discuss with your surgeon
which graft choice is best for your individual situation.
uwsportsmedicine.org
8
Rehabilitation
Post-operative rehabilitation is essential in optimizing
your function and return to sport after an ACL
reconstruction.6 Frequently during an ACL reconstruction,
other injuries or pathologies are addressed during surgery.
These additional procedures require special post-operative
precautions. (see page 5). The process of returning to
physical and athletic activities is not based on time, it
is based on the individual’s ability to achieve certain
milestones or criteria. The time needed to do this will vary
from individual to individual.
Post-operative rehabilitation begins the day after surgery.
The four phases of post-operative rehabilitation are
described in detail in this booklet. Your compliance with
this program will have a direct effect on your function
and return to sport.4, 6
During the first phase of rehabilitation, the goals are to
increase your range of motion and strength, and return
to walking without crutches. There is evidence that pain
and swelling can hinder or inhibit your ability to generate
muscular force in your leg, especially your quadriceps.7
Thus, it is important to minimize swelling and pain to
help restore your strength – your ability to get stronger is
limited if your knee is swollen. You can decrease swelling
by elevating your knee above your heart, icing your knee
with the cooling unit, using compression wraps on your
leg and avoiding too much activity the first few weeks
after surgery. In addition to your prescribed medications,
the points listed above will also help to minimize your
pain. Scar tissue massage/mobilization and patellar
mobilizations may also be used to help decrease pain.1
As pain and swelling decrease, you will begin more specific
strength training exercises in Phase 2. During this phase
it is still important to monitor the return of any pain or
swelling. Phase 2 will also focus on restoring your strength
and proprioception. There is evidence to show that strength
deficits have a direct effect on functional outcomes and
return to sport.4, 6 Proprioception is a sensory modality
that provides internal feedback solely on the status of the
body’s position, movement and alignment.2, 5 Various
balance exercises will be used to help improve and recover
your proprioception. These exercises also help to regain
strength.2 In subsequent phases when jumping, cutting
Rehabilitation Guide: Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction
Copyright 2017 UW Health Sports Medicine
and pivoting are emphasized, it is essential that the body is
in correct alignment.
One primary goal of Phase 3 is to eliminate strength
differences between both legs. You will be doing strenuous
strength training exercises three to four times a week.
Often times it may be necessary to do more sets and
repetitions on the surgical leg than the non-surgical leg to
eliminate the difference. You must also be careful not to
compensate or “overuse” the non-surgical leg while doing
your strengthening exercises, as this will have the reverse
effect on the difference. During this phase your physical
therapist or athletic trainer will also begin to introduce
running, agility and impact (jumping) exercises.
Phase 4 of rehabilitation is termed “athletic
enhancement”. This is the phase where you will work
on sport-specific movement drills.5 Although you will
perform some exercises and movements from earlier
phases, you will be working on doing these activities
at higher speeds until you progress to game speed.
Conditioning drills for muscular endurance and
cardiovascular conditioning are included in this phase.
Being released to return to sport is a collaborative
decision between your surgeon and physical therapist
or athletic trainer. They will use a series of tests to
help determine your readiness for sport, including a
computerized strength test (Biodex), a series of hopping
tests, a shuttle run and a balance test.
The chance of re-tearing your ACL after surgery is 5-15%.8
There is actually a greater chance of tearing your other
ACL, the risk being 10-22%.8 The reason for the greater
risk on the other side is not entirely known. It may be due
to your anatomy, compensation for your surgical knee or
genetic risk factors. Some of these risk factors cannot be
modified, but there are measures you can take to reduce
the overall risk of another ACL tear. Research has shown
that continuing proprioceptive exercises and continuing
to train your landing mechanics and deceleration will
reduce your risk of ACL injury. Your physical therapist
or athletic trainer will give you recommendations and
guidelines to continue these exercises after you are
discharged from therapy. UW Health Sports Rehabilitation
also offers individual and group training programs for
injury prevention.
uwsportsmedicine.org
9
References
1.Busam ML, Provencher MT, Bach BR, Jr. Complications of
anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction with bone-patellar
tendon-bone constructs: care and prevention. Am J Sports Med.
Feb 2008;36(2):379-394.
2.Cooper RL, Taylor NF, Feller JA. A systematic review of the effect
of proprioceptive and balance exercises on people with an
injured or reconstructed anterior cruciate ligament. Res Sports
Med. Apr-Jun 2005;13(2):163-178.
3.Krych AJ, Jackson JD, Hoskin TL, Dahm DL. A meta-analysis
of patellar tendon autograft versus patellar tendon allograft
in anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction. Arthroscopy. Mar
2008;24(3):292-298.
4.Moisala AS, Jarvela T, Kannus P, Jarvinen M. Muscle strength
evaluations after ACL reconstruction. Int J Sports Med. Oct
2007;28(10):868-872.
5.Myer GD, Paterno MV, Ford KR, Hewett TE. Neuromuscular
training techniques to target deficits before return to sport after
anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction. J Strength Cond Res.
May 2008;22(3):987-1014.
6.Myer GD, Paterno MV, Ford KR, Quatman CE, Hewett TE.
Rehabilitation after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction:
criteria-based progression through the return-to-sport phase. J
Orthop Sports Phys Ther. Jun 2006;36(6):385-402.
7.Palmieri-Smith RM, Thomas AC, Wojtys EM. Maximizing
quadriceps strength after ACL reconstruction. Clin Sports Med.
Jul 2008;27(3):405-424, vii-ix.
8.Pinczewski LA, Lyman J, Salmon LJ, Russell VJ, Roe J,
Linklater J. A 10-year comparison of anterior cruciate ligament
reconstructions with hamstring tendon and patellar tendon
autograft: a controlled, prospective trial. Am J Sports Med. Apr
2007;35(4):564-574.
Rehabilitation Guide: Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction
Copyright 2017 UW Health Sports Medicine
uwsportsmedicine.org
10
UW Health Sports Rehabilitation:
Progressive ACL Testing for Return to Sport
Patients will be seen in coordination with their
physician follow-up visits. Follow-ups are scheduled
immediately prior to physician visits. These visits are
generally scheduled at 2, 3, 4 and 6 months post ACL
reconstruction. All visits will be scheduled for 60 minutes
and will consist of a progression of testing beginning
with a basic knee assessment and measurements (height,
weight, limb length, etc.). The following tests will be
performed and progression to the next test on the list is
dependant on level of limb symmetry index (involved
limb/uninvolved limb x100) and therapist’s assessment
of the quality of movement—i.e. the alignment and
balance during landing.
Joint Assessment
•Limb length – measured at 1st testing visit
•Height and weight
•Range of Motion
•KT-1000 testing (performed at all follow-up visits)
Strength Testing
•Y-Balance Test
•Single-leg Press Test
•Isokinetic Strength Testing
o60°/sec
•Quadriceps peak torque
•Hamstring peak torque
o240°/sec
•Quadriceps total work
•Hamstring total work
Jump / Landing Mechanics
•Double-leg Jump/Landing Symmetry
(Force plate test)
•Landing Mechanics (LESS test)
Rehabilitation Guide: Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction
Copyright 2017 UW Health Sports Medicine
Performance Testing
•Vertical Hop
•Vertical 4 Hop
•Horizontal Hop
•Horizontal Cross-over Hop
•Repeated Hop for fatigue
Psychological Testing
•ACL Return to Sport Index
Notes:
•Appropriate clinical decision making needs to be
employed by the physical therapist or athletic trainer
to make sure the individual patient is ready for each
test since some patients may need to delay their
testing. Patients should be encouraged to test as hard
as they feel is safe.
•For all testing it is important that the patient controls
the landing positions. Failure to hold a landing
position with control is deemed a failed attempt and
must be repeated. Control for this purpose is defined
as at least a full second of single-leg balance after
landing.
Return to Sport
Return to sport is collaboratively determined by the
surgeon, sports rehabilitation staff and athlete. Return to
sport includes return to selected drills, partial participation
and full unrestricted participation. (see the Participation
Continuum on the following page) The above tests will
help determine when it is safe for you to return to sport. It
is important to realize that return to sport is not based on
a specific timeline; it is based on the individual athlete’s
ability to meet physical performance criteria, mental
readiness, age, sport and the position you play.
(continued)
uwsportsmedicine.org
11
Participation Continuum:
1.Movement Patterns
a.Sprinting
b.Shuffle
c.Carioca
d.Zig-zag cutting
e.Shuttle change of direction
2.Closed Drills – sport-specific drills without opposition
in a controlled speed environment
3.1 on 1 Drills (no-contact) – sport-specific drills/
activities where the athlete is expected to react to his/
her opponent without compensation
4.1 on 1 Drills – full speed 1 on 1 drills with game
necessary contact
5.Team Scrimmage (no-contact) – patients are asked
to wear a different colored jersey to indicate there
contact restrictions during team scrimmaging when
appropriate
6.Team Scrimmage – full scrimmaging
7.Restricted Play – progressing time and situational
play as appropriate.
8.Full return to play
Rehabilitation Guide: Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction
Copyright 2017 UW Health Sports Medicine
uwsportsmedicine.org
12
Phase 1
Acute Management/Early Motion and
Basic Movement Retraining
This phase begins immediately after surgery and continues for 2-4 weeks, depending on your
progress. To promote proper healing it is important not to progress too rapidly.
Goals
1. Achieve full active knee extension equal to the
uninvolved side
2. Eliminate swelling
3. Restore the ability to control the leg while weight
bearing
4. Achieve at least 125˚ of knee flexion
5. Be able to lift the leg in all directions without
assistance
6. Normalize walking pattern with the assistance of
crutches and/or brace
Prone hangs (below)
Lie on your stomach with your brace off and your knees
and lower legs hanging off the bed or table. Try to keep
your hips down on the table. You may place a small
weight on your ankle or use the other foot to apply some
downward pressure onto the heel to increase the stretch.
You should feel some stretching and mild discomfort in
the back of the knee. Hold this for 1-5 minutes, rest for
30-60 seconds, repeat 3-5 times consecutively, and
perform 3-5 sessions per day. This exercise should
not be done if your surgery was performed
with a hamstring graft.
A. R
ange of Motion (ROM)
Exercises
NOTE: You may do either exercise 1 or 2 but
it is not necessary to do both unless you were
specifically instructed to do so.
Extension on a bolster (below)
While sitting or lying down with the brace off, support
your heel on a towel roll. Now let your knee straighten
as much as possible. To increase the stretch you may
activate your quadriceps muscle or apply some pressure
(your hands or weight) on the thigh, but not over the
knee cap. You should feel some stretching and mild
discomfort behind the knee. Hold this stretch for 1-5
minutes, rest for 30-60 seconds, repeat 3-5 times
consecutively, and perform 3-5 sessions per day.
Rehabilitation Guide: Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction
Copyright 2017 UW Health Sports Medicine
ROM wall slides (below)
Lie on your back with your involved foot up on the
wall, with your brace off. Slowly slide the foot down the
wall as far as possible. You may use your other foot to
push the involved foot farther down the wall. At this point
it is normal to feel pressure in the front of the knee. Hold
this for 5-10 seconds, Then push into the wall and slide
the foot back up until the knee is flexed approximately
90˚. Now push into the wall for 10 seconds, such that you
are performing an isometric leg press. Now slide foot up
until the knee is fully extended. Repeat 15-25 times, and
perform 3-5 times per day.
uwsportsmedicine.org
13
Heel slides with assist (below)
Lie on your back with your brace off and slowly slide your
foot toward your hips, as far as possible. You may use
your other foot to push for greater motion. At this point it
is normal to feel pressure in the front of the knee. Hold
this for 5-10 seconds, Now slide the foot back until
the knee is fully extended. Repeat 15-25 times, and
perform 3-5 times per day.
Patellar mobilizations (below)
With your fingers, palpate the edge of your patella (knee
cap). Then gently glide the patella in four directions;
up, down, to the inside and to the outside. Try not to tip
or tilt the patella, but slide it. Hold for 2 seconds at
the end of the glide. This will prevent scar tissue from
forming around the patella. Glide in each direction for
1 minute, and perform 3-5 times per day.
Seated knee flexion (below)
Sit with your leg off the edge of a table or chair. Your
brace should be off. Allow the knee to bend as far as
possible. At first you may need to use the opposite leg to
help slowly lower the foot. Then use the uninvolved foot
to apply a little overpressure over the foot, trying to bend
it further. At this point it is normal to feel pressure in the
front of the knee. Hold this for 5-10 seconds, Repeat
10-20 times, and perform 3-5 times a day.
Knee
angle ~30˚
NOTE: It is necessary to do exercises to increase
knee flexion. The previous three exercises all work
on increasing knee flexion. If there is one that
works better for you, you may do that exercise
more often and spend less time on the other
flexion exercises. They should be done with your
brace off.
Place a towel under knee so knee is flexed
approximately 30˚.
Rehabilitation Guide: Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction
Copyright 2017 UW Health Sports Medicine
uwsportsmedicine.org
14
B. Muscle Activation
Quad sets
With the knee fully extended, contract your quadriceps
muscle as much as possible and hold for 5-10 seconds,
then relax for 5 seconds, Repeat for 2-3 minutes.
Straight leg raises
Once you can achieve a good quad set you can attempt
to lift the leg up 12 to 16 inches while maintaining full
knee extension. This should be held for 5-10 seconds, and
repeated 10-15 times. Your physical therapist or athletic
trainer will determine if you should do this with the brace
on or off.
NOTE: If the patient is having difficulty with
quadriceps activation using the above exercises it may
be helpful to try some short arc quad or full arc quad
movements to assist in the re-activation. Electrical
stimulation may also be helpful in this phase.
Hamstring sets
Sit on the floor. With your knee slightly bent, push your
heel into the floor. You should feel your hamstrings
contracting on the backside of your thigh. Hold for
5-10 seconds, then relax for 5 seconds. Repeat for
2-3 minutes.
be done with the brace off and when you may begin doing
this exercise standing on your surgical leg.
Weight shifting
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and knees
slightly bent. Shift your weight from one foot to the other.
Hold for 5-10 seconds. This can also be done with one
foot in front of the other, shifting your weight forward
and backward from one foot to the other, holding for
5-10 seconds. Continue these various weight shifting
patterns for 2-3 minutes. You should start this exercise
with your brace on and your therapist will tell you when
it is okay to remove the brace.
Double leg mini squats
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Perform a
mini squat by bending your knees and flexing your
hips. A good squat alignment will have the chest over
the knees and the knees over the feet, with the weight
evenly distributed over the feet. Do 1-3 sets of 10-15
repetitions. You should start this exercise with your brace
on and your therapist will tell you when it is okay to
remove the brace.
NOTE: This exercise should not be done
if your surgery was performed with a
hamstring graft.
Standing leg lifts
Stand on your uninvolved leg.
Keeping your involved knee
completely straight, lift your
leg forward and hold for 2
seconds. Do not allow your
upper body to sway. Do the lifts
in four directions; forward,
backward, outside (away) and
inside (across). Do 1 set of
5-10 repetitions for each
direction. You should start
this exercise with your brace
on. Your therapist will tell
you when this exercise may
Rehabilitation Guide: Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction
Copyright 2017 UW Health Sports Medicine
uwsportsmedicine.org
15
Squat with Bounce/Lateral Shift/Sagittal
Shift
Assume a proper squat position with your shoulders
aligned vertically over you knees and hips pushed back
behind your heels. This is the base position for the
following exercise progressions:
Bounce
Maintain your weight distribution over the entire foot or
slightly toward the ball of the foot. Using a quick and
controlled motion, bounce into your hips as if sitting back
into a high chair. This motion should be no greater than
about 6”. Focus on maintaining your weight distribution
and not allowing your knees to thrust forward.
Crunches (below)
Lie on your back with the knees bent and feet flat on
the floor. Tighten abdominals by pressing the small of
your back against the floor. Hold abdominals in as you
slowly curl upper back, shoulders, and head 6-12 inches
away from the floor, one segment at a time towards your
center, or core. You should feel the movement being
initiated at your abdominals, not at your head. Hold this
position for a few seconds. Return slowly to the floor and
repeat. Hold your hands at your sides, across your chest,
or clasp your hands behind your head to support the
weight of your head.
Lateral Shift
From the squat position, shift your weight side to side
quickly with control. As you shift, be sure to shift both
your hips and shoulders at the same time. Avoid letting
your knees rotate inward as you shift into each side. This
exercise can be made more difficult by slightly widening
your stance and/or shifting more quickly.
Sagittal Shift
Shift your weight forward onto your toes (heels just raise
off the ground), then back into your heels (should be
able to wiggle your toes). This movement is performed by
using a whole body forward/backward weight shift. The
angles of your knees, hips and trunk should not change.
Double leg toe raises
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and knees
fully extended. Rise up onto your toes. Hold this position
for 2 seconds and then return. Do 1-3 sets of 10-15
repetitions. You should start this exercise with your brace
on and your therapist will tell you when it is okay to
remove the brace.
Reverse crunches (below)
Lie on your back with the knees bent and lift your feet
a few inches off the floor. Tighten your abdominals by
pressing the small of your back against the floor. Hold
abdominals in as you slowly curl your lower back and
hips 4-6 inches off the floor and towards your center, one
segment at a time. Hold this position for a few seconds.
Return slowly to the floor and repeat. Hold your hands at
your sides.
C. Core Body Training
Maintaining good core body strength enhances
performance of physical activities and reduction of
injuries. Your abdominal muscles, low back muscles
and pelvic stabilizing muscles are considered your core.
Strong abdominals are important in every motion. The
trunk and torso transfer and stabilize all forces generated
by the upper and the lower body musculature. Your
core is the foundation in activities of daily living and in
athletic movements.
Abdominal isometrics
Lying on your back or standing, tighten the abdominal
muscles by drawing your stomach in. Do not hold your
breath. Do not attempt to flex your trunk. Hold for 10
seconds, repeat 1-3 sets of 10-15 repetitions.
Rehabilitation Guide: Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction
Copyright 2017 UW Health Sports Medicine
Diagonal crunches
Lie on your back with your right knee bent and foot
flat on the floor. Bend the left knee and rest the outside
aspect of the left ankle on the right knee to form a figure
four cross. Clasp your hands behind your neck. Tighten
abdominals by pressing the small of your back against
the floor. Keeping your left shoulder and left elbow on the
floor, rotate your body and bring your right elbow towards
your left knee. Return slowly to the floor and repeat.
Switch legs to work on rotating towards the right.
uwsportsmedicine.org
16
Back extension
Lie on your stomach. Place your hands at your side or
clasp behind your lower back. Lift your chest 6-12 inches
off the floor and towards your center. Return slowly to the
floor and repeat.
D. Ambulation
Diagonal weight shifting (below)
Place your involved foot in front of the uninvolved foot,
maintaining shoulder width distance between them.
Start with all of your weight on the uninvolved foot.
The involved leg should start in front of the other with
only the heel contacting the ground. As you shift your
weight towards the front foot, gradually let the entire foot
come into contact with the ground and slightly flex the
knee. Hold for 5 seconds and then return to the starting
position. Do 2-3 sets of 15-20 repetitions.
Step-overs (below)
Place a series of books or paper cups in a row, about
one step length apart. The books or objects should stack
up so that they are at least ankle height. Now walk
forward and backward, bending the knee to step over the
objects. Do 2-4 sets, walking continuously for 30-45
seconds.
The following criteria are a guideline for determining
when it is safe for you to discontinue using the crutches
and brace:
1. Discontinuation of crutches (1-7 days)
• Normal gait with brace on
Backward stepping
Walk backward, focusing on raising your leg and avoid
swinging your legs out to the side. Try to lift the toes off
the ground before the heel when stepping off.
Do 2-3 sets, walking 50-75 feet for each set.
Rehabilitation Guide: Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction
Copyright 2017 UW Health Sports Medicine
2. Unlocking the brace (3-14 days)
• Good quad set
• Within two degrees of full knee extension
• Able to stand on surgical leg with good alignment and
control, without brace, for at least five seconds
• Able to perform a double leg mini-squat, with equal
weight bearing, through 30 degrees of knee motion
3. Removal of the brace (1-4 weeks)
• Normalized gait (walk without a limp)
• Able to stand on surgical leg with good alignment and
control without the brace for at least 10 seconds
• No apprehension when walking without the brace
• Initially, go without the brace in safe environments
(avoiding icy conditions, uneven terrain and crowds)
uwsportsmedicine.org
17
Phase 2
Basic Strength and Proprioception
This phase begins 2-6 weeks after surgery. It will usually take 3-5 weeks to achieve the goals in
this phase.
Goals
1. Restore proper body alignment and control with basic
movements, such as walking without assistance,
squats, stationary lunges and single-leg balance
2. Build lower extremity and core body strength
3. Develop increased proprioception, starting with
stationary postures and then progressing to movements
4. Achieve active range of motion equal to the uninvolved
knee
A. Range of Motion Exercises
Patellar mobilizations (below)
With your fingers, palpate the edge of your patella. Then
gently glide the patella in four directions; up, down, to the
inside and to the outside. Try not to tip or tilt the patella,
but slide it. Hold for 2 seconds at the end of the glide.
This will prevent scar tissue from forming around the
patella. Glide in each direction for 1 minute, 3 times
per day.
Stationary bike
Adjust the seat height so that you feel a gentle stretch
with the knee bent at the pedal’s highest point.
Bike 5-10 minutes with minimal to no resistance.
Patients should be cautious to avoid too much biking
in Phase 2 as it may place too much repetitive stress
on the graft.
Prone hangs (below)
Lie on your stomach with the lower half of each leg
hanging off the bed. Hold this stretch position for
30-60 seconds, repeating 3-4 times. You may use the
uninvolved leg to apply a downward force on the heel
of the involved leg. This will force the knee into more
extension.
Extension on a bolster (below)
Place heel on a towel roll and let the knee sag downward.
Maintain this position for 30-60 seconds, repeating
3-4 times. You may place a sandbag weight over thigh to
help apply additional pressure if needed.
Knee
angle ~30˚
Place a towel under knee so knee is flexed
approximately 30˚.
Rehabilitation Guide: Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction
Copyright 2017 UW Health Sports Medicine
uwsportsmedicine.org
18
Standing knee flexion (below)
Standing with your back to a chair, place the top of the
involved foot/toes up onto chair. Then slowly squat down
on the uninvolved leg to bring the involved knee into a
flexed position. Hold 20-30 seconds, repeat 3 times.
Lower extremity flexibility
In addition to knee range of motion, promote lower
extremity flexibility by beginning a static stretching
program for the following muscle groups:
•Hamstrings
• Iliotibial (IT) Band
• Gastrocnemius/Soleus (calf)
• Hip Flexors/Quadriceps
B. Gait Drills
These drills should be done with slow controlled
movement:
1. Forward high knee walk
2. Backward high knee walk
3. Forward high knee hurdler walk with hip circles
Prone knee flexion (below)
Lie prone (on stomach), contract your abdominal
muscles to prevent the low back from arching and bring
the heel of your surgical leg towards your gluts. Hold
20-30 seconds and repeat 3-4 times. Use your other
leg or hand to provide the bending pressure.
4. Backward high knee hurdler walk with hip circles
5. Side step in mini squat position
6. Forward zig zag skater’s step with pause
7. Backward zig zag skater’s step with pause
Rehabilitation Guide: Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction
Copyright 2017 UW Health Sports Medicine
uwsportsmedicine.org
19
C. Functional Strengthening
Squat (below)
Stand with your feet approximately hip width apart or a
little wider. Point your toes forward or slightly out to the
side. Lower your hips until your thighs are almost parallel
to the floor. If you lose balance before your thighs are
parallel to the floor, you may return to standing at any
time. Keep your knees aligned over your first and second
toes. Distribute your body weight over your entire foot or
towards the balls of your feet. Be sure to bend at the hips
when bending the knees. Return to standing.
Partial lunge (below)
Step forward to 3/4 of your full stride. This is the starting
position. Distribute your body weight so that 75% or more
of your body weight is on the lead leg. Lower your body
until your front thigh is almost parallel to the floor. If you
lose balance before your thighs are parallel to the floor,
you may return to standing at any time. Keep your front
knee aligned over the first and second toes. Your trail leg
can be bent at the knee comfortably or remain straight
depending on your chosen stride length. The trail foot
should also rise up onto the toes. Use your lead leg to
push yourself up to the starting position. Your physical
therapist or athletic trainer may progress this to a walking
partial lunge.
Step back (below)
Stand with both feet on a step. Reach back with one foot
and slowly lower your body until your foot taps the floor
behind you. Return to standing. Repeat with the other
foot. The further you reach back, the more challenging
this exercise becomes.
Rehabilitation Guide: Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction
Copyright 2017 UW Health Sports Medicine
uwsportsmedicine.org
20
D. Balance
In Phase 2 the focus will be on the development of
balance and proprioception. Exercises that challenge
different planes of balance will be emphasized, including:
1. Single leg toe raises
2. Single leg balance with reaches,
involving arms and legs
Reverse crunches (below)
Lie on your back with the knees bent and lift your feet a
few inches off the floor. Tighten abdominals by pressing
the small of your back against the floor. Hold abdominals
in as you slowly curl your lower back and hips 4-6 inches
off the floor and towards your center, one segment at a
time. Hold this position for a few seconds. Return slowly
to the floor and repeat. Hold your hands at your sides.
Exercise__________________
Repetitions_________ Hold time___________
3. Single leg balance, eyes closed
4. Single leg leaning towers
5. Single leg balance with various head, arm, trunk and
leg positions to challenge balance
Individual instructions:
E. Core Body
Crunches (below)
Lie on your back with the knees bent and feet flat on
the floor. Tighten abdominals by pressing the small of
your back against the floor. Hold abdominals in as you
slowly curl upper back, shoulders, and head 6-12 inches
away from the floor, one segment at a time towards your
center, or core. You should feel the movement being
initiated at your abdominals, not at your head. Hold this
position for a few seconds. Return slowly to the floor and
repeat. Hold your hands at your sides, across your chest,
or, clasp your hands behind your head to support the
weight of your head.
Rehabilitation Guide: Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction
Copyright 2017 UW Health Sports Medicine
Diagonal crunches
Lie on your back with your right knee bent and foot
flat on the floor. Bend the left knee and rest the outside
aspect of the left ankle on the right knee to form a figure
four cross. Clasp your hands behind your neck. Tighten
abdominals by pressing the small of your back against
the floor. Keeping your left shoulder and left elbow on the
floor, rotate your body and bring your right elbow towards
your left knee. Return slowly to the floor and repeat.
Switch legs to work on rotating towards the right.
Back extension
Lie on your stomach. Place your hands at your side or
clasp behind your lower back. Lift your chest 6-12 inches
off the floor and towards your center. Return slowly to the
floor and repeat.
Bridge (below)
Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on
the floor. Your arms should be on the floor at your side.
Tighten your abdominals and buttocks as you lift your
hips off the floor high enough to form a straight line
from your shoulders to your knees. Do not arch your
back. Return slowly to the floor and repeat.
uwsportsmedicine.org
21
One legged bridge (below)
Perform a bridge. Straighten one leg out while still
maintaining good posture and a straight line from your
shoulders to the knee and foot. Hold for approximately 10
seconds. Return slowly and repeat with the opposite leg.
Cardiovascular conditioning
Alternate the modes of cardiovascular exercise.
(For example, Stairmaster for 10 minutes, stationary
bike for 10 minutes, UBE (upper body ergometry) for
5 minutes). Your goal is to use this variety to create a
cardiovascular demand without causing anterior knee
pain.
Upper body strength
Each patient will have an individualized program. The
demands of your sport or work requirements will guide
the design of this component.
Rehabilitation Guide: Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction
Copyright 2017 UW Health Sports Medicine
uwsportsmedicine.org
22
Phase 3
Dynamic Neuromotor Strength, Endurance
and Coordination
This phase can be initiated when the goals of phase 2 are met. On average this will begin 6-8
weeks after surgery.
Goals
1.Increase the strength of the involved leg. You should
be doing strenuous pain-free strengthening at least
3 times per week. Consider doing more sets and
repetitions on the involved side to eliminate sideto-side strength differences. Be very cautious not to
overuse your non-surgical leg, as this will increase
the side-to-side difference. Progress from single plane
strengthening and functional exercises to multiplane strengthening and functional exercises (before
progressing the patient should be able to demonstrate
good alignment and control with each component of
the multi-plane exercise). This is a prerequisite for
future progression to cutting and pivoting activities.
2. Develop eccentric neuromuscular control to allow
acceptance of impact activities without increasing
symptoms (before initiating impact activities the
patient should not have any swelling, have full
knee extension, be able to balance on one leg for 10
seconds and be able to perform a single leg squat
to approximately 45-60° of knee flexion with good
posture and control).
3. Develop dynamic flexibility to allow for proper
alignment during activities of increasing speed.
4. Full range of motion is expected.
A. Range of Motion
If full range of motion has not been achieved by this
phase, your physical therapist or athletic trainer may
want to consider additional measures such as modalities
or manual therapy to assist in regaining range of motion.
• Continue with extension on bolster or prone hangs
• Continue with flexion exercises such as stationary bike
and prone flexion
• Continue with static flexibility exercises
Rehabilitation Guide: Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction
Copyright 2017 UW Health Sports Medicine
B. Dynamic Agility Drills
Begin with small strides at low velocity, gradually
progressing the velocity and then stride length as your
movement control improves.
1. Forward skip
2. Backward skip
3. Side skip
4. Side shuffle with trail leg push off
5. Carioca or grapevine with short quick strides
6.Carioca with increasing backward hip rotation with
longer strides
7. Three step and stop
8. Back pedal accelerations
9. Fast feet in place
10. Tall-fall-run
uwsportsmedicine.org
23
C. Functional Strengthening
NOTE: Most of the recommended strengthening
exercises are closed chain with a component of
stability and control. If a patient is having trouble
re-gaining quadriceps strength it is acceptable to
provide that patient with some open chain quadriceps
strengthening exercises. Caution should be taken to
monitor any associated anterior knee pain with these
exercises.
Squat with knee lift
Start with your feet together. Squat to a comfortable
level that you can maintain for at least 10 seconds.
Shift your body weight to one leg and raise the opposite
knee without compromising your posture. Hold 5-10
seconds, Lower your knee and switch legs.
laterally (to the outside) with the opposite leg until your
hip is fully extended. Return to a squat. Do not allow any
transfer of weight from the stance leg to the reaching leg
until the desired numbers of repetitions are completed.
Switch legs.
Squat and alternating reach (below)
Perform as the squat and reach exercise but alternate
legs with every repetition. Maintain the distance between
your hips and the floor as you alternate legs as quickly as
possible.
Squat and reach (below)
Squat to a comfortable level that you can maintain for at
least 10 seconds. Shift your body weight to one leg. Reach
Dumbbells or medicine balls can be added to progress the amount of resistance with these exercises.
Rehabilitation Guide: Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction
Copyright 2017 UW Health Sports Medicine
uwsportsmedicine.org
24
Reverse lunge
Start from a standing position with your feet together.
Step backwards into a lunge, then return to standing.
Your center of gravity should be forward and above your
front knee.
Lateral lunge walk (below)
Start from a standing position with your feet together.
Step sideways into a lunge with 80-85% of your weight
on the lead leg (knee over the foot) with the trail leg
relatively straight. Push up with the lead leg to return to
standing. Be careful not to bounce off the toes of the trail
leg. Repeat with the other leg.
Forward lunge walk (below)
Start from a standing position with your feet together. Step
forward into a lunge. Try to get 80-85% of your weight on
to the forward leg, with the knee over the foot. The trail leg
should be relatively straight and come up on to the toes.
Then push off and up with the forward leg to bring body
up and knee straight. Repeat with the other leg.
Dumbbells or medicine balls can be added to progress the amount of resistance with these exercises.
Rehabilitation Guide: Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction
Copyright 2017 UW Health Sports Medicine
uwsportsmedicine.org
25
D. Landing and Takeoff Drills
E. Balance
Step offs
Step off a 6-10 inch high box. Try to land on both feet
simultaneously. Absorb the shock of the landing by
coming into a squat position upon landing. When you
are able to perform this consistently, correctly and without
symptoms, your physical therapist or athletic trainer will
progress you to single leg landings.
In Phase 3, balance exercises will challenge postural
control and duration. The goal of these exercises is
to make balance an unconscious phenomenon. By
using tasks that require hand-eye coordination and
concentration, your cognitive awareness of body position
is diminished. Some examples of these exercises are listed.
1.Balance board activities
2.Soccer ball drills balancing on injured leg
Bounce jumps
Stand with equal weight on both feet. Now perform
the first portion of a shallow jump. Your toes may not
leave the ground initially. Repeat this to produce a
light bouncing action. When you are able to perform
this consistently, correctly and without symptoms, your
physical therapist or athletic trainer will progress you to
single leg bouncing.
3.Stick handling with a hockey stick and ball
4.Football passes while balancing on injured leg
5.Tennis racket swings while balancing on injured leg
6.Swim strokes
7.Volleyball bumps or sets while balancing
on injured leg
8.Basketball ball handling drills in single leg stance
position
Leap and land
Stand on one leg, then using opposite arm and leg action,
push off that leg to become slightly airborne. Land softly
by bending the knee and hip as your other foot contacts
the ground. Pause and hold your balance in this partial
squat position for 2-3 seconds.
Jump stops
Perform three forward jumps, with both legs, then stop.
Maintain good balance in a squat position for 3-4 seconds
upon stopping. Repeat this sequence 10-20 times. When
you are able to perform this consistently, correctly and
without symptoms, your physical therapist or athletic
trainer will progress you to single leg hopping.
Rehabilitation Guide: Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction
Copyright 2017 UW Health Sports Medicine
9.Walk and hold stance on single leg
10.Windmills
11.Single leg balance with your eyes closed
12.Single leg balance while standing on a towel roll
Complete the above exercises highlighted by your physical
therapist or athletic trainer.
Duration________________ Repetitions________
uwsportsmedicine.org
26
F. Core Body
The core functions to bend, stretch, twist and stabilize
your body. The anatomical terms for these functions are
flexion, extension, rotation and stabilization, respectively.
V-Sit and twist (rotation)
Begin in the same starting position as the V-sit. Twist your
body and reach to touch the floor on the other side of the
opposite hip. Return and repeat in the opposite direction.
Iso abs (stabilization)
Lie face down. Lift your upper body and hips off the floor
into a push up position. You can support your upper body
weight either on your elbows or your hands. Stabilize and
hold this position for approximately 30 seconds.
Chopping (flexion and extension)
You will need a ball and a solid wall. With your back
facing the wall, stand approximately 1-2 feet away (the
further you stand away from the wall, the greater the
challenge). Straddle your feet so they are approximately
shoulder width apart. Hold the ball in both hands and
raise it to tap the wall overhead behind you. Then lower
it down and bring the ball between your knees to tap the
wall behind you at knee height. Repeat.
V-Sit and stretch (flexion and extension)
While seated on the floor, form a “V” with your body by
bending at the hips and knees. Raise your feet 4-6 inches
off the floor. Widen the “V” by stretching at the hips and
knees while maintaining a distance of 4-6 inches from
your feet to the floor. Return and repeat.
Russian twist (rotation)
Begin in the same starting position as the chopping
exercise. Slightly bend one knee and twist in the opposite
direction of that knee to tap the ball on the wall behind
you. Return and repeat in the opposite direction. The
speed of the twist will vary depending on your sport.
Rehabilitation Guide: Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction
Copyright 2017 UW Health Sports Medicine
Diagonals (combines flexion and
extension movements with rotation)
Stand with your feet close together and your back to a
wall. Put both hands together. Now touch both hands to
the wall as high as possible above the right shoulder then
bring them across your body and touch the wall to the
outside of the left hip. Use your abdominal muscles to
control the movement. Repeat this diagonal pattern
12-15 times, then do the opposite diagonal which will be
from the left shoulder to the right hip. Do two sets of each
diagonal pattern. The progression for this exercise is to
hold a weight between your hands.
Cardiovascular conditioning
Continue cross training, but begin to design your
program more toward the type of cardiovascular
requirements you will need for your sport
(i.e., intervals vs. moderate intensity, moderate duration
vs. low intensity, long duration). During this phase you
should be working hard to get in shape, or improve your
muscular and cardiovascular work capacity to allow for
more intense rehabilitation exercises in Phase 4.
Upper body strength
Continue on individualized program as determined by
your rehabilitation provider.
uwsportsmedicine.org
27
Phase 4
Athletic Enhancement and Return to Activity
This phase can be initiated when the goals of Phase 3 are met. This phase will usually begin 12-16
weeks after surgery.
Goals
1. Progress from double leg impact control to single
leg impact control (this should not be initiated
before 8 weeks post-op, a KT1000 measurement and
completing the double leg progression).
2. Develop proper technique and appropriate
neuromuscular control with start and stop movements
and change of direction movements. This includes
cutting and pivoting (this should not be initiated
before 8 weeks post-op, a KT1000 measurement and
completing the double leg progression).
3. Eliminate apprehension that may exist with complex
movements related to sports.
A. Dynamic Warm Up
These drills are designed to enhance athletic performance
by preparing your body for the demands of your sport.
This warm-up will help with increasing core body
temperature, mental alertness, elasticity of the muscular
system and activation of your neuro-muscular system. It
may take from 5-15 minutes to perform. The following
exercises are similar to the agility drills in Phase 3, but
now you will begin to increase the size and speed of
movement:
1. Forward skip
2. Backward skip
3. Side skip
4. Side shuffle with arm swings
5. Carioca or grapevine with short quick strides
6.Carioca with increasing backward hip rotation with
longer strides
7. 3 step and stop
8. Back pedal accelerations
9. Fast feet in place
10. Tall-fall-run
Rehabilitation Guide: Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction
Copyright 2017 UW Health Sports Medicine
B. M
ulti-planar Landing Control
and Neuromuscular Reaction
Jump rotations
Perform a squat jump, while in the air turn 90˚, then
land on a box and hold the landing. Attempt to increase
the duration of balance and control during the landing.
Sets_______ Repetitions_______
Fast feet and lunge
Do fast feet choppers in place for 3-4 seconds, then lunge
forward. From the lunge position return to the upright
fast feet sequence. Continue this cycle, alternating the
lunge leg.
a. Forward
b. Lateral
c. Multi-angle
Sets_______ Repetitions_______
Multi-planar leap and land
Stand on one leg, then using opposite arm and leg action
push off that leg to become slightly airborne. Land softly
by bending the knee and hip as your other foot contacts
the ground. Pause and hold your balance in this partial
squat position for 2-3 seconds.
a. Forward
b. Lateral
c. Diagonal
d. 90 degree rotation
Sets_______ Repetitions_______
Stop and go
Jog forward a few paces and stop softly on one foot, hold
this landing for 1-2 seconds. Continue this sequence in
multiple directions.
uwsportsmedicine.org
28
Hopping
(Single foot takeoff–single foot land)
Use opposite arm and leg action. Land softly by initiating
contact at the ball of the foot and as the heel comes to the
ground the knee and hip should flex (bend). Attempt to
increase the duration of balance and control (not letting
the knee go in towards midline) during the landing.
a. 4 hop for height
b. 4 hop for forward distance
c. 10 yard speed hop
Power bounds
This high intensity exercise is basically a progression of
the forward hop and requires cycling of your legs during
the flight phase of the hop. You should increase your
distance with each bound.
Agility ladder
Progress various drills to promote dynamic balance and
agility from the least provocative plane of movement
(usually sagittal) to the most stressful plane of movement
(usually transverse). You can simulate an agility ladder
using a tape pattern on the floor. Your physical therapist
or athletic trainer will provide you with a handout of
drills specifically designed for you.
C. F
unctional Movements and
Strengthening
Forward lunge walk with rotation
Start from a standing position with your feet together and
hands holding a small weight overhead. Step forward into
a lunge and bring the weight over forward leg to touch
the ground. As you stand to lunge forward to the other
leg, the weight should travel in a smooth arc overhead.
Sets_______ Repetitions_______
One legged squat
This exercise is performed in a similar manner as the
squat, but is performed with only leg at a time. Attention
to postural alignment is very important.
Sets_______ Repetitions_______
Single leg deadlift
Stand on one leg with the knee straight but not hyperextended while holding a weight or medicine ball. Reach
toward the floor with the weight by flexing at the hip but
keeping the knee and back straight. Raise back up to a
standing position by extending the hip.
Sets_______ Repetitions_______
Cutting and pivoting drills
As outlined by your physical therapist or athletic trainer,
these drills encourage equal weight distribution between
the surgical and nonsurgical legs. You should start at
a low velocity and progress to higher velocity as your
movement control increases and your apprehension
decreases.
Rehabilitation Guide: Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction
Copyright 2017 UW Health Sports Medicine
Lunge clock
This exercise utilizes the lunge at multiple angles. To
perform this exercise, imagine yourself standing in the
center of a clock. Now, lunge out to each number on the
face of the clock, coming back to the center each time.
Sets_______ Repetitions_______
Lateral lunge walk
Start from a standing position with your feet together
holding a medicine ball overhead. Step sideways into
a lunge with 80-85% of your weight on the lead leg
(knee over the foot) and the trail leg should be relatively
straight. As you go in to the lunge position you should
bring the medicine ball down, just in front of the knee.
Then push up with the lead leg to return to standing.
The ball should be pushed overhead while the lead leg is
extending (straightening).
uwsportsmedicine.org
29
Power step up (below)
Start with left foot flat on top of a stable chair, a weight
bench or stacked aerobic steppers. With a majority of your
weight maintained through the left foot, explode quickly
upward by straightening left knee and left hip ending up
only on left leg. At the same time, the left arm will punch
upwards with elbow bent at 90 degrees and the right
knee will end up in a high knee march position. Repeat
on opposite side also. Hold dumbbells in your hands to
increase resistance.
Rehabilitation Guide: Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction
Copyright 2017 UW Health Sports Medicine
D. Advanced Core Training
Core muscles are important as they provide stabilization
to your body and assist in transfer of power from lower to
upper body and vice versa during sport.
1. Prone body bridge
2. Body bridge left
3. Body bridge right
4. Supine body bridge
Progress these exercises by adding extremity motion and
eventually adding resistance through dumbbells/light
resistance.
uwsportsmedicine.org
30
Phase 5
Sports Performance and Injury Prevention
At this point your physical therapist or athletic trainer will provide you with specific exercises
based on your sport and specific needs. These exercises are important for enhancing sports
performance and preventing future injuries.
Rehabilitation Guide: Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction
Copyright 2017 UW Health Sports Medicine
uwsportsmedicine.org
31
Spectrum: Rehabilitation of Athletic Movement
and Return to Sport
General Information
1. Welcome to Spectrum! Classes meet two times
per week.
Phase I: Return to Basic Fundamental Movement (Basic)
($120 per month).
3. Prior to beginning Spectrum, each
athlete will need to schedule an orientation.
The purpose of the orientation is to evaluate the
athlete and determine the appropriate phase of
participation. The athlete will go through a series
of exercises designed to assess the athlete’s functional
ability (strength, endurance, mechanics, etc.).
The orientation fee is a non-refundable $40 which
is due prior to the day of the orientation. Orientation
will be set up through email by Spectrum staff and
the patient. To schedule the orientation, call
(608) 263-4765.
Rehabilitation Guide: Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction
Copyright 2017 UW Health Sports Medicine
4. Appropriate exercise wear is required. We recommend
cross trainers or shoes with good lateral support vs.
running shoes. Please do not wear wet or muddy shoes
on the indoor wood floors and turf. Floors that are
wet or dusty are hazardous for the type of activities
performed in Spectrum class.
5. You will need to warm up and stretch independently
before class starts. The stretching area in the fitness
center is reserved for patients and members to use for
the purpose of stretching only. Please do not use it as
a waiting area. When you are finished with your warm
up and stretch, please move to the aerobics room.
6. Due to special events or holidays, the Spectrum
program may be closed during usual class hours.
These events and dates will be posted in advance.
uwsportsmedicine.org
32
Spectrum: Rehabilitation of Athletic Movement
and Return to Sport
Description
UW Health Spectrum is a lower extremity, group
rehabilitation program that integrates philosophies
of sports training with philosophies of functional
rehabilitation. The program is designed to provide
athletes an opportunity to work on functional
conditioning and sport specific drills that prepare
them to return to sport activities. We can better return
athletes to their full motor potential by rehabilitating
the injuries, retraining the kinetics, or movements, of
their required sports skills and provide the necessary
tools to attain higher levels of fitness, strength, flexibility,
movement and sports skill. Athletes in this program
participate with others who have experienced similar
injuries, and therefore, receive the camaraderie and
motivation needed to successfully achieve performance
goals. The class is primarily designed for patients who
have had ACL reconstruction but is beneficial for all
lower extremity injuries. Evidence has shown that
return to sport rehabilitation and sports performance
training have similarities. Therefore this program is also
available to non-injured athletes. There are three phases
of progression in the program: basic, intermediate and
advanced.
Phase I: Return to basic fundamental
movement:
The key to bridging the gap between rehabilitation and
sports application is to return to basic fundamental
movement skills. This begins with postural awareness
exercises, balance activities, proprioceptive challenges,
coordination activities and basic functional strengthening
drills. These activities are used as building blocks for
more advanced and complex sports movements. Lack
of these skills may result in a deficit in movement
pattern and movement response. Athletes in this phase
of rehabilitation must have already addressed the
physiological responses of pain, swelling, range of motion
and basic strength during the early phases of healing.
Rehabilitation Guide: Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction
Copyright 2017 UW Health Sports Medicine
Phase II: Restore biomotor patterns
(intermediate)
As the athletes relearn to control their strength and
coordination, they then need to apply their coordination
to simple biomotor tasks such as running, jumping,
hopping, skipping, leaping, catching, etc. before advanced
athletic movements can be achieved. Activities in Phase
II progressively become more complex by adding
components of speed, impact, change of center of gravity
components and by combining more than one movement
and more than one direction or plane of movement. They
will also continue to work to rebuild their strength.
Phase III: Retrain and recondition to return
to sports (advanced)
In phase lll, athletes will demonstrate that they are
efficient with simple biomechanical locomotor and nonlocomotor patterns. The rehabilitation now will be more
specialized to returnto individual sport by retraining in
agility, plyometrics, speed, strength and power exercises.
Phase lll is longer than phase I or ll. This is to allow
for appropriate conditioning, intensity, and movement
complexity to meet each individual’s needs to return
to their desired sport(s). After completion of phase lll,
athletes are prepared to resume full sports participation at
pre-injury level or beyond.
Core body
Underlying the three phases of Spectrum is core strength.
There is a relative comparison to overall athletic
performance and reduction of injuries to maintaining
good core strengthening and mobility in our athletes.
The trunk and torso transfer and stabilize all forces
generated by the upper and lower body musculature.
Each participant in the program is instructed on an
individualized core body program that includes exercises
for trunk flexion, extension, rotation and stabilization.
Core body drills are always performed as part of a five to
ten minute cool down after each class session. All three
phases of the rehabilitation program integrate a program
of core body training.
uwsportsmedicine.org
33
Spectrum: Rehabilitation of Athletic Movement
and Return to Sport
Fitness
By incorporating components of general athletic
fitness, athletes can maximize the gains made in
rehabilitation. More importantly, each participant
works with others who have similar needs to emphasize
functional strengthening, agility and sports specific
training. To make this class work, individual time and
effort is required. Below is a list of some very important
aspects of general athletic fitness. Athletes will be
instructed on activities for each component and will
become independent with these activities. Participants
are encouraged to pair up with a classmate as a good
motivational tool.
Warm-up, cool-down
Warming up before each workout and cooling down
afterwards are very important aspects of total fitness. A
proper warm-up period allows the heart to gradually
accelerate into the training zone, preparing the body
for more strenuous activity. Warm-up consists of 5-10
minutes of gradually progressive exertion on the
stationary bike or stair master, followed by a dynamic
warm-up outlined by the Spectrum staff or your physical
therapist/athletic trainer. This component helps to
prepare the neuromuscular system for the demands of
class activities.
Rehabilitation Guide: Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction
Copyright 2017 UW Health Sports Medicine
Flexibility
Normal musculoskeletal function requires that an
adequate range of motion be maintained in all joints.
Stretching exercises are important for developing and
maintaining these motions. Stretching not only prepares
the body for activities but also helps in preventing
unnecessary injuries. Stretches are generally performed
right after warm-up and again at the end of the workout.
Cardiovascular conditioning
General athletic fitness is the base on which sport-specific
athletic fitness and skills are built. Each sport demands a
certain level of aerobic or anaerobic endurance. To begin
developing cardio-respiratory endurance, a conditioning
program is initiated at the beginning of the program.
Core body
Strong core body musculature is important in every
athletic motion. The trunk and torso transfer and
stabilize all forces generated by the upper and lower body
musculature. Strong abdominals also help support the
lower back, which is a common site for athletic injury.
uwsportsmedicine.org
34
Spectrum: Rehabilitation of Athletic Movement
and Return to Sport
Patient Profile
Name__________________________________________________________________________
Street Address_____________________________________________________________________
City____________________________________ State________ Zip_________________________
Work Phone__________________________ Home Phone____________________________________
Date________________ Age_________
What is included in your current exercise program?
Stretching
Strengthening (include frequencies and volume (sets x reps) of each exercise)__________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
Cardiovascular conditioning (include frequencies and duration)___________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________________
Where do you perform your exercise program?________________________________________________
What activities tend to irritate your injury?__________________________________________________
Do you perform regular recreational physical activities? Yes No
If not, what is the major obstacle? time motivation lack of facility other__________________________
What is your rehabilitation goal?
return to sports return to work physical demands with activities of daily living
What is your profession?______________________________________________________________
Would you describe your lifestyle as: sedentary fairly active moderately active highly active?
What sport(s) do you participate in?______________________________________________________
What position(s) do you play?__________________________________________________________
T-shirt size (circle one) M L XL XXL
This section will be completed by the Sports Rehabilitation staff
Start date___________________ Orientation date______________________
Phase: I II III (circle one)
Registered in Spectrum Binder Yes No
Rehabilitation Guide: Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction
Copyright 2017 UW Health Sports Medicine
uwsportsmedicine.org
35
Was this manual useful for you? yes no
Thank you for your participation!

* Your assessment is very important for improving the work of artificial intelligence, which forms the content of this project

Download PDF

advertisement