Getting Back to Sports After ACL Injury

If you are going to Physical Therapy with an ACL injury or as an ACL post-op, you are probably wondering if you will ever get back to 100%.

By
Georgio Baylouny,

The answer is a resounding yes.

ACL injuries take a toll on both our body and our confidence. Therefore, you need to find an ACL rehab program that addresses both of those components.  

We are going to give you an inside look at the PhysioRX ACL Rehab Formula, and how you can apply it to your own recovery.

The Mental Challenges of ACL Recovery.

I always start with the mental aspect, and that is where I suggest you start as well. Identifying, accepting, and shifting our negative self-talk is a sign of strength and growth that is pivotal in ACL recovery. By addressing the mental component, we are taking control and re-building confidence in your body.

We discussed the mental piece of ACL recovery in our blog “The Hidden Side of ACL Recovery“, so I won’t say much more on this right now. However I suggest pausing to read it before continuing below, because it is arguably the most important aspect in getting you back to 100%.

The Physical Challenges of ACL Recovery (and the ACL recovery timeline).

Physical Therapy for ACL injuries must incorporate the following 3 rehab essentials if your goal is to return to an active lifestyle.

Here is a breakdown of 3 critical rehab techniques that we use in our ACL Recovery Program, together with some examples as to what they mean.

1. Reactive Training for ACL rehab

Reactive training consists of movements in which you must respond to the surrounding environment. Initially, reactive movements may involve verbal or visual instructions from your physical therapist. These instructions will require a response on your end, such as a change in direction or a change in speed.

More challenging variations include multiple instructions or a defender to make the exercises more realistic and simulate the sport that you might eventually be returning to, such as soccer.

2. Sport-Specific Testing for ACL Rehab

Many of you have heard of the infamous “6 month mark”, which is the blanket timeframe until return to sport that many surgeons and physical therapists blindly throw at patients. Far too often, athletes are cleared for return to sport solely based on the amount of time since surgery.

However, each athlete’s recovery process is unique and it is important to collect some evidence-based information to ensure that they are physically ready for the demands of their respective sport.

This is where sport-specific testing comes in.

Sport-specific testing can include various tests and measures, but are always as objective as possible.

For example, a soccer player may perform some hop test variations comparing their involved and uninvolved legs. For a basketball player, the time it takes to complete a T-Test may be used to mimic the environment they will face on the court.

The key here is to make sure the test is specific to the environment of the sport or day-to-day life and that it provides some hard numbers. Test for success!

3. Gradually Transition From Rehabilitation to Sports Performance Training

This “need” is probably the most difficult, but also the most important to set yourself up for long-term success since you are so close to the finish line.

A gradual transition from rehabilitation to sport has been proven to be most effective, and will allow you to safely develop your physical conditioning and on-field or court skills, as well as your confidence. This gradual transition can only happen if you, your physical therapist, medical doctor and/or athletic training staff, and coaching staff are all on the same page.

To accomplish this, it is vital to have an open, honest conversation with everyone involved in your return to sport.

These conversations are never easy – you’ve been away from the sport you love most for a long time and you are likely itching to get back at this stage.

Patience and trust in the process at this point is critical to make sure the investment that you made during the rehabilitation process is not compromised and you can safely return to the field.

About the PhysioRX ACL and Knee Physical Therapy and Strength Program.

Located in New York City, PhysioRX was founded to shake up the current trends in Physical Therapy and the healthcare system as a whole. Unfortunately, most patients go through the typical “assembly line” of our healthcare system.

We’re not your typical healthcare providers.

The PhysioRX ACL Physical Therapy and Strength Program was designed for the active individual that is looking to make a recovery to sports, lifting, fitness classes, or otherwise live a normal and active lifestyle.  

We get results, the right way, because we tailor the program to your goals and your injury. At PhysioRX, all appointments are one-on-one with a Doctor of Physical Therapy who specializes in Orthopedics and Sports Rehab. Further, our time with you extends well beyond the physical 60 minute sessions – we use our PhysioRX App to provide custom programming outside of our sessions with real-time support from your PT. You essentially have a PT in your pocket throughout your recovery, checking in on you and making sure you’re hitting your goals.

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