Share
What we’ll cover
  1. Why are women more likely to injury their ACL?
  2. ACL rehabilitation stages
  3. My top ACL rehabilitation tips:

ACL rehabilitation following surgery

The Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) is one of the main structures that helps stabilise the knee.  It attaches from the femur to tibia (thigh bone to lower leg bone) and is most commonly injured in sports requiring explosive jumping and change of direction movements. Australia currently has the highest rate of reported ACL injury in the world, with sports such as AFL, rugby, netball and skiing exhibiting the highest rates of injury.  With a number of sports underway and pre-season commencing for winter sports, our physiotherapist Sarah identifies the importance of rehabilitation following ACL injury and surgery.

ACL rehabilitation

Why are women more likely to injury their ACL?

It is well known that women exhibit a higher risk of ACL rupture, being 2-4 times higher than that of their male counterparts. The reasoning behind this remains somewhat debated but is thought to be related to the following factors:

  • Anatomical differences (Q-angle – wider hips resulting in increased knee valgus/ “knock-kneed” alignment, smaller size of ACL, smaller size of intercondylar ridge).
  • Hormonal differences (women exhibit higher levels of oestrogen, progesterone & relaxin – these hormones have an effect on ligament strength).
  • Biomechanical differences (women tend to be more flexible than men resulting in increased incidence of hyperextension of the knee. Women’s hip and upper leg muscles are generally weaker compared to their male counterparts meaning that a joint takes more load when landing as there is less muscle to absorb the force).

ACL rehabilitation stages

Recovery from ACL surgery and injury isn’t a quick process.  A graduated and guided approach takes beyond 7 – 9 months.  Importantly, rehabilitation not only aims to restore flexibility and strength, but most importantly reduce the likelihood of re-occurrence or re-injury.

There are five phases from the time of injury through to post-operative rehabilitation that need to be considered.

Pre-op phase: recover from injury & achieve readiness for surgery

Goals: reduce swelling, regain full knee range of motion, regain adequate quads & hamstring strength

Phase 1: Recover from surgery

Goals: achieve full knee extension, reduce swelling, normalise walking, quadriceps activation

Phase 2: Strength and neuromuscular control

Goals: regain muscle strength, improve balance, good quality of movement control

Phase 3: Return to running, agility and jump/landing

Goals: Maintain full strength/ neuromuscular control, complete running/ agility program

Phase 4: Return to sport

Goals: achieve return to sport outcome measures, athlete is comfortable and confident with return to sport, complete ACL injury prevention program.

My top ACL rehabilitation tips:

  1. Get the knee straight early, bending is important but can progress more gradually.
  2. Use pain and swelling as a guide.  If anything significantly increases either, speak to your physiotherapist sooner rather than later.
  3. Reintroduce & progress plyometric exercises gradually.  These include exercises like jumping, hopping and changing directly.  However, these movements produce large amounts of force on the joint and the knee will take time to adapt to return to running/ jumping/ landing movements.
  4. Complete your full ACL rehabilitation.  Re-occurrence is incredibly high when rehabilitation is not completed.   However, the last 1/3 of rehab is arguably the most important to help reduce the likelihood of re-injury, have a more successful return to sport and reduce the risk of osteoarthritis severity down the track.

If you have experienced an ACL injury or had ACL reconstructive surgery, book online or call 9571 688 to see one of our friendly physio experts.


Follow us
on instagram

Last week our team celebrated another great year. 

Whilst Melbourne’s weather had its own plans, we were still determined to keep with the theme of ‘Italian Summer’. We let our hair down to master the art of mixology 🍸🍹followed by an Italian feast. Friday morning Run Club with the team. Practicing what we preach!

Staying stronger, healthier and happier. This time last week, our team was nervously completing their final preparations for @melbmara . 

Congratulations to our physiotherapists and ME community who ran on the day.

Dilen and Michael completed their first marathons. Abbey and Lizzie smashed out their first half. Last Sunday, our team headed down to see our own Matt Warren win a premiership in the VAFA Premier Men’s Competition. Last week our team dedicated a full day to professional development and team building. At ME Physio we pride ourselves on collaboration to put you at the centre of everything we do. 

Our team covered the latest treatments for back pain, financial well-being and finished off the day with salsa dancing. 

Many thanks to our guests including James Schomburgk from @the2ndvisitphysio , Financial Planners Tony Vikram & Cameron Bishop and the @salsafoundation At ME Physio, our focus is on helping you get stronger so that you can keep doing the things you love.

For Tony and Joan, healthier and stronger is being able to navigate the iconic Coast to Coast Walk in the UK! We recently had the pleasure of hosting Elise Bujor from Women’s & Men’s Health Physiotherapy to discuss women’s health issues across the lifespan. 

Our team pride themselves on staying up to date to ensure you’re able to stay healthier, happier and stronger. Huge milestones over the past few weeks with both Tom and Jude from @delasallefc doing their first bit of running in their rehab. 

Tom is on the return from an ankle dislocation whilst Jude is putting in the hard work following a knee reconstruction. Last week our team enjoyed some friendly rivalry at the footy. 

With finals around the corner, some of our team can now safely make holidays plans for September. We recently had the pleasure of hosting the podiatry team from @sespodiatry. 

Our physiotherapists Michael and Abbey presented on rehabilitation following Achilles surgical repair and ankle surgery. Last weekend some of our team got together to complete the 10 km run @runmelbourne. There was no finish line picture as some were keen to run another 15 km!

Whilst running wasn’t for some - brunch was well received by everyone. Shoulder impingement can be incredibly frustrating and painful. 

Tony has been working closely with our physiotherapists Vernon and Dilen to get on top of his shoulder pain. His treatment plan has included hands-on physiotherapy and individualised exercises in our hydrotherapy and strength programs.

You Deserve to Feel Good.

Enter your email below to subscribe to our newsletter to stay up to date with clinic news and the latest tips and advice from our team of physiotherapists.