Exercises for ACL Injuries
Updated: Dec 6, 2022
ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) injuries can be incredibly painful. They are often caused by sporting activities, however there are other ways to damage your ACL. This blog will discuss the best exercises to perform when recovering from an ACL to ensure your recovery is maximised and your ACL is strengthened as a result.
What is an ACL Injury?
An ACL injury is a tear or sprain of this ligament. It can occur during any activity that causes a sudden change in direction or stop, such as playing football. Most ACL injuries can occur when there is no contact with another player. The majority of ACL injuries happen when the knee is Bent forward, and the foot is planted while the knee twists backwards. This movement puts extreme stress on the ACL.
What are the symptoms of an ACL Injury?
The most common symptom of an ACL injury is sudden and severe pain in the knee.
Other symptoms may include
- A popping or snapping sound when the injury occurs
- Severe swelling within 24 hours
- Knee instability or giving way
- Difficulty walking or bearing weight on the affected leg
If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention right away as an ACL injury can worsen without proper treatment.
How is an ACL Injury Diagnosed?
Your doctor will likely perform a physical exam and ask about your symptoms and how the injury occurred. They will also check for signs of instability, swelling, and tenderness. Imaging tests, such as an MRI, may be ordered to confirm the diagnosis.
What are the Treatment Options for an ACL Injury?
Treatment for an ACL injury will depend on the severity of the injury and whether you have any other damage to your knee. In some cases, conservative treatment may be all that is needed. This may include
- Physical therapy
- Bracing or supports
- Pain relievers or anti-inflammatory medication
However, if the ACL is completely torn or the knee is unstable, surgery may be required to repair or reconstruct the ligament.
Exercises for ACL Injuries
If you have suffered an ACL injury, exercises are an important part of the recovery process. exercises can help to improve range of motion, flexibility, and strength. They can also help to prevent further injury and improve overall knee stability. Your doctor or physical therapist will likely prescribe a specific exercise program for you based on your individual needs. Here are a few exercises for ACL injuries to help you get back to your best.
Some recommended exercises for ACL injuries include:
Hamstring stretches: These exercises stretch the muscles in the back of the thigh. They can help to improve the range of motion and prevent stiffness.
Quadriceps exercises: These exercises strengthen the muscles in the front of the thigh. They can help to take the stress off of the ACL and improve knee stability.
Heel slides: This exercise stretches the calf muscles and hamstrings. It can help to improve the range of motion in the knee.
Gluteal sets: This exercise strengthens the muscles around the hip. These muscles help to stabilize the knee joint. To do this exercise, lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Squeeze your glutes and lift your hips off of the ground. Hold this position for 5 seconds. Gradually progress this to longer periods to strengthen your ACL.
Straight leg raises: This exercise strengthens the muscles in the front and back of the thigh. It also helps to improve the range of motion in the knee joint. To do this exercise, lie on your back with your affected leg straight and the other leg bent at the knee. Slowly raise your straight leg until it is level with the other leg. Progress this by increasing reps and eventually adding weight onto your foot.
Wall sits: This exercise strengthens the muscles in the legs and helps to improve knee stability. To do this exercise, stand with your back against a wall with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Slowly slide down the wall until your knees are bent to 90 degrees. Hold this position for 30 seconds. Progress this by holding the position for a longer period, or placing a weight on your lap.
Clam exercises: This exercise works to strengthen the muscles around the hip. These muscles help to stabilize the knee joint. To do this exercise, lie on your side with both legs bent at the knee and feet together. Keeping your feet touching, raise your top knee as high as you can without moving your pelvis. Repeat this 10-15 times before switching sides.
Leg press: This exercise strengthens the muscles in the front and back of the thigh. It also helps to improve the range of motion in the knee joint. To do this exercise, start by sitting in a leg press machine with your feet shoulder-width apart on the footplate. Slowly press the weight away from your body until your legs are nearly straight. Pause for a moment and then slowly return to the starting position. Repeat this 10-15 times. Progress this by slowly increasing your weight to strengthen the ACL over time.
Leg extension: This exercise strengthens the muscles in the front of the thigh. It also helps to improve the range of motion in the knee joint. To do this exercise, start by sitting in a leg extension machine with your legs under the padded lever. Slowly extend your legs until they are straight. Pause for a moment and then slowly return to the starting position. Repeat this 10-15 times. Progress this by slowly increasing your weight to strengthen the ACL over time.
These exercises should be performed regularly to see the best results. If you experience any pain or discomfort, be sure to stop the exercise and speak to your doctor or physical therapist
At Falcon Health, we are experts in treating and prescribing exercises for ACL injuries. Our team of experienced physiotherapists and chiropractors can develop a customised treatment plan to help you recover from your injury and get back to your normal activities. If you have suffered any injury or are looking for exercises for ACL injuries, then contact us today on 01444 257555 or firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about our services.
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