From Tear to Triumph: The Power of Physical Therapy and Personal Training for ACL Tear Recovery

Don’t hesitate to contact us today to learn more about how PhysioRX is helping NYC athletes make a triumphant return to sport following an ACL injury.

Ryan Brennan

That loud ‘pop,’ the rapid swelling, the knee buckling with every step – ugh, there’s nothing worse than a torn ACL. It’s one of the most disheartening injuries in all of sports – robbing athletes of an entire season, if not more – but it doesn’t have to mark the end of your career. PhysioRX has you covered, Brooklyn!

The ACL, short for anterior cruciate ligament, is one of the four major ligaments in the knee joint. It helps provide rotational stability in the knee and prevents the shin bone (tibia) from slipping in front of the thigh bone (femur). It’s common in high-demand sports, such as soccer, basketball, football, skiing, and more.

Can non-athletes suffer a torn ACL? 

One of the biggest misconceptions about ACL injuries is that they only happen to athletes. While athletes are certainly at a greater risk, ACL tears can happen to anyone at any time – and they often come with little-to-no warning. Let’s take a look at some of the most common ways non-athletes can tear their ACL:

  • Coming to a sudden or abrupt stop 
  • Suddenly or abruptly changing direction
  • Improper or incorrect pivoting
  • Improper or incorrect landing after jumping
  • Accidentally bending the knee backwards
  • Hyperextension of the knees
  • Any blunt force or trauma to the body (knees)

According to the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, approximately 150,000 people suffer an ACL injury every year in the United States alone. Most of these people will need surgery to replace the torn ACL with a tissue graft, but physical therapy and personal training can help them return to normal form.

Quads of Steel: The Importance of Rebuilding Quad Strength

One of the primary goals of ACL recovery is to rebuild and restrengthen the quadriceps – also known as the ‘quads.’ This group of muscles is located on the front of the thigh and plays a major role in extending the leg at the knee – as well as flexing the thigh at the hip. So, what does this have to do with the ACL?

Quad weakness is one of the most common side effects of ACL surgery. This is primarily due to the loss of mobility, which results in atrophy and loss of size/strength, but it’s also a result of the nervous system essentially shutting down neural stimulation to the knee in an effort to protect the knee and reduce pain. 

Quad strength, on the other hand, is one of the key indicators that a patient is nearing a return to form. Once the quads have a strong foundation, physical therapists can start to incorporate a greater range of exercises, intensities, and rates of force. With quads of steel, you’ll be back to your normal self in no time!

Setback to Comeback: 3 Keys to Successful ACL Recovery

Recovering from ACL surgery is an intricate process that requires a personalized and balanced approach to physical therapy and personal training in Park Slope, Brooklyn. We’re not just rehabbing the injury, but also strengthening the area of concern to reduce the chances of re-injury – revealing a newer, stronger, and more resilient you!

At PhysioRX, our ACL Recovery Program ensures our patients get the best results possible by following what we feel are the three rehab essentials to make a total return to sports – or just life, in general. Those three essentials are reactive training, objective testing, and performance training. Let’s take a closer look!

1. Reactive Training

Getting the body moving again is crucial to recovery, but so is getting the nervous system to fire on all cylinders. With reactive training, your body is asked to respond and react to predictable and unpredictable circumstances. Recovery is much easier when your mind and body work in unison – so don’t rob it of that.

Real-World Example: Your physical therapist might tell you to sit down into a squat before randomly telling you to jump up and reach for the ceiling.

2. Objective Testing

Making progress is one thing, but how can we tell if a patient is ready to take the next step in the recovery process? That’s where objective testing comes into play. To ensure the patient is physically ready for a return to sport, we perform a series of sports-specific tests to see how the body performs in certain areas.

Real-World Example: Your physical therapist might ask you to perform a triple-hop test to see how your injured knee performs vs. your uninjured knee.

3. Performance Training

There comes a time in every ACL recovery program when we make the transition from rehabilitation to sport – it’s a gradual transition, but it’s the final leg before crossing the finish line. Most athletes are itching to return to the game they love, but this transition can only happen when the patient is 100% ready for it.

Real-World Example: Your physical therapist will increase the intensity and introduce a new exercise plan to improve your movement, balance, and strength. 

Mind Over Matter: Conquering the Mental Challenges of an ACL Tear

At PhysioRX, we understand that recovering from an ACL injury and making your triumphant return to sport is more than just a physical battle – it’s also a mental battle. Our goal is to strengthen not only the body but also the mind by instilling within you a greater sense of confidence, resilience, and motivation. 

Here are some of the things you can start doing today to conquer the mental challenges of an ACL tear: 

  • Make sure you set clear and realistic goals – stay patient, your time will come!
  • Don’t underestimate the power of visualization – visualize yourself healthy!
  • Stay optimistic and rid yourself of all negative thoughts – motivation is key!
  • Practice mindfulness and staying in the present – don’t get too far ahead of yourself!
  • Know when to ask for help, but also accept it when it’s offered – we’re here to help you!
  • Take this time to find a new hobby – something to take your mind off the injury!
  • Don’t be afraid to open up to those willing to listen – be honest with yourself!

Maintaining focus and staying motivated throughout the 6- to 9-month ACL recovery process is easier said than done, but it’s possible with the right mindset and the right support system. That’s why we like to build a strong relationship with each of our patients – it not only helps you, but it also helps us help you!

PhysioRX: An ACL Recovery Program Fit to Your Needs

Have you recently suffered an ACL injury? Are you currently preparing to undergo ACL reconstruction surgery? Are you trying to recover from an ACL injury without needing surgery? Are you looking for a physical therapist in Manhattan or Brooklyn? If so, you came to the right place – welcome to PhysioRX!

Our physical therapists have been in your shoes before – they know what it’s like to suffer a major injury, but they also know what it takes to get you back to feeling and functioning your absolute best. Book a free consultation with one of our leading experts to learn more about our hybrid approach to physical therapy in Park Slope, Brooklyn!

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