The dreaded anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear may be one of the most feared injuries among athletes. The ACL’s primary responsibility is to provide stability to the knee when performing back and forth movements. Without this ligament, people suffer from excessive knee movement that threatens to tear the other ligaments around the ACL. If left untreated, a torn ACL injury may lead to arthritis later on in life.
Fortunately, orthopedic surgeons in Denver, such as the ones from Steadman Hawkins Clinic Denver, are more capable today than the doctors of yesteryear. In the past, ACL injuries were often seen as career-ending injuries. Today, numerous athletes, both in the professional and amateur level, have battled back from their respective ACL tears and return to pre-injury form.
If you are about to embark on your “road to recovery” from an ACL tear, don’t lose hope. Aside from your usual physical therapy, here are a few tips to help you recover from your injury quickly and correctly:
Change Your Mindset
Recovery from a serious injury is also a mental battle. Many athletes who suffer ACL tears tend to think negative thoughts about the injury. This can have a negative effect in their performance during therapy.
Don’t forget that your surgically repaired knee is not “broken”. It is important to start seeing your “injured knee” as just your “knee”. Eliminate the notions of fragility and brokenness from your mind, and you’ll see your ability to perform you physical therapy improve.
Don’t Baby Your Knee
Sometimes, people begin favoring their injured knee while walking and standing. In other words, they place more weight on the non-surgically repaired knee. This should be avoided since there is a risk of developing compensatory habits that impede recovery later on.
One way to avoid this would be to stand on top of two weighing scales, one scale for each foot. This will allow you to see just how much weight one leg is supporting. Naturally, you will need to train yourself to spread your weight evenly between both legs.
Resist the Temptation of Playing
You may find that your knee feels completely healed after numerous weeks of physical therapy, and you may be tempted to test out your knee by playing a pick-up game of basketball or some other sport. Resist this temptation!
One of the reasons why recovering from reconstructive surgery takes a while is because your newly fashioned ACL requires time to assimilate into its new role. Playing sports before the ligament has fully assimilated significantly increases the chances of re-tearing, sidelining you for even longer. Always consult your orthopedic surgeon prior to taking on any physical activities outside of your physical therapy sessions.
The Dreaded ACL Tear – and How to Recover, health.usnews.com
3 Tips for Coming Back After an ACL Injury, runnersworld.com