The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of the main bands of tissue in the knee and connects major bones of the leg, the femur and tibia. It offers rotational stability, but is also commonly injured through side-stepping or pivoting movements. In cases of partial or complete tears, surgery is often needed to restore functionality in the knee. Fortunately, physical therapy both before and after the procedure can help to promote optimal surgical outcomes and healing. In particular, here are some things you can do before your surgery to promote a smooth recovery.
What Exercised Should You Do Before ACL Surgery?
1. Stationery Cycling
During your initial appointments, your physical therapist will see how much range of motion you have in your knee. One of their main goals will be to restore as much mobility as possible prior to surgery to facilitate a thorough recovery. For this reason, they may recommend exercises such as stationery cycling, which repeatedly bend and straighten the knee. Of course, the duration and intensity of exercises will be based on factors such as your tolerance and the nature of the injury.
2. Straight Leg Raises
After injuring your ACL, your quadriceps (the large muscles on the thigh) may be weakened or function improperly. To rehabilitate this muscle group, your physical therapist may recommend exercises such as the straight leg raise. While laying on your back, you’ll be asked to bend one leg while raising the other off the ground, keeping it straight. This activates the quads, building strength so the muscles can provide ample support for the knee.
3. Lateral Band Walks
The strength of your hips plays an important role in keeping your knees in a stable position. Your physical therapy team may therefore recommend hip-strengthening exercises such as lateral band walks prior to your surgery. With these movements, you’ll wrap a resistance band around your ankles or thighs and take gentle steps to the side across your space and back.
Whether you’ve sustained an ACL injury or you have a different need for physical therapy, our team from Physical Therapy of Andalusia can help. Having served Covington County, AL for 39 years, we help patients make a smooth recovery, manage pain levels, and increase their overall quality of life. Take a virtual tour of our facility online, or call (334) 222-5785 to schedule an appointment.