Q. My son tore his ACL. He is eager to get back out on the field. What is the proper treatment plan for this type of injury?
A. An ACL injury is a common knee ligament injury, particularly in athletes. The ACL is not capable of healing itself because ligaments, unlike muscles, do not have their own blood supply. Some may choose to treat a torn ligament non-surgically with a rehabilitation program focusing on muscle strengthening and lifestyle changes. However, surgical reconstruction will help most recover to full function after an ACL tear. These two options are based on the individual’s expectations and current lifestyle. Most choose reconstruction in order to return to their full prior level of function. After ACL reconstruction, performing rehabilitative exercises can gradually return full mobility and stability to the knee. At an appropriate time decided by your surgeon and physical therapist, it is important to progress back into running, jumping, sport, leisure or work specific activities. In athletes it is also important to train landing and jumping mechanics and progress into deceleration and acceleration in multiple directions for that particular sport to prevent re-injury. You may also need to use a knee brace for a short time, as it is important not to return to full activity too soon.
Kevin Kostka, P.T., D.P.T., P.E.S.
Summit Physical Therapy
SportsBarn North Hixson
1790 Hamill Road
Hixson, Tn. 37343