We see patients for a variety of reasons at our North Oakville Physiotherapy and Wellness Clinic. We assess and treat people with aches and pains and acute, or fresh injuries. We also treat people recovering from surgeries. Common surgeries we see are knee “scopes”, or arthroscopic surgery, rotator cuff repairs, shoulder stabilization surgeries, and joint replacement surgery. ACL surgery, or anterior cruciate ligament surgery, like all the aforementioned surgeries do best when they have follow up rehabilitation.
Adequate rehabilitation is vital to recovery post ACL reconstruction. There are a variety of protocols out there. Your surgeon may have one they prefer to use. Your Physiotherapist will should this as appropriate and use their clinic judgement and the most current research protocols to give you the best care possible. Included in this will be home instructions and home based exercises as you are safe to do them.
Some people have the means and choose to attend Physiotherapy more frequently, while others choose to be more vigilant with their home program.
Consistency is key
It is important to attend Physiotherapy regularly. This way your Physiotherapist can progress your home program as appropriate. This progression is in relation to your stage of healing as well as how you’ve been progressing. It’s also important to do your exercises consistently at home. These are the exercises your Physiotherapist has advised for you to do at home that you are safe to do independently.
Early access to Physiotherapy / Rehabilitation is vital
This is actually pre surgery AND post surgery.
It’s vital to strengthen and maintain range of motion prior to any surgery. This “prehab” includes ACL surgery. This can be set up with your Physio as an independent program and progressed as tolerated.
It’s also important to access Physiotherapy after ACL as soon as your surgeon allows. You should be sent home with some basic exercises and specific instructions with regards to how you should weight bear. Your leg will atrophy, meaning your muscles will shrink and you will likely get stiff. We have seen people who have put off starting Physio for weeks, who haven’t been doing anything independently. Your rehab journey, post ACL reconstruction will be much smoother with an earlier start.
Continue with Physiotherapy to Meet your Goals and Prevent Re-injury
Once you are at a certain stage in your rehab, and have met certain milestones with respect to time, range of motion, and strength it is not as vital for you to attend Physio as regularly. It is still important to continue to do your home / gym program. This should be a well-rounded program strengthening all of the muscles in the lower extremity, hip and core. Balance, and more dynamic exercises will be added in slowly. ACLs don’t tend to spontaneously re-rupture. Working on strength, hip stability, dynamic stability and endurance of these related to your life and sport is vital. This is actually where the hard work and discipline lives. It’s easy to get through the first couple of months and gain sufficient mobility and strength. This is where a person recovering from an ACL reconstruction needs to put their head down, remember their goals and stick to the grind.
Some may contend that if rehabilitation and even PREhabilitation are such a large component of these surgeries, that cost the Canadian health care system large amounts of money, why is Physio and rehabilitation not a covered protocol? We don’t know either. Private benefits will cover access to private Physiotherapy services. It is also an investment in yourself and your future goals. If you have concerns with funding your rehabilitation speak with your Physiotherapist and they should work with you and advise what they believe is best for you. Remember that it is a lengthy process and hard work for the best results.
The hard work for people is after they have the surgery. The surgery is only the beginning. Give yourself six months of consistent work. If you have not been consistent this may need to be stretched out a little more.
Who Treats ACL Reconstructions?
We do! It can be confusing where to go for your post surgical rehabilitation. Many surgeons actually own their own clinics or have shares in community clinics. They obviously will want you to go to these clinics. They should disclose this information to you. We suggest that whatever you choose, ask a few questions before booking.
- Will I be seeing a Registered Physiotherapist every visit?
- Will it be the Physiotherapist with me the whole time?
- Will it be the same Physiotherapist or Physiotherapist Assistant every time?
- How long will I be spending 1 on 1 with the Physiotherapist?
Remember that you are entitled to attend your Physiotherapy / Rehab at any local clinic that you are comfortable seeing. At our Oakville Physiotherapy clinic we draw upon a few resources when treating people post ACL reconstruction. Once of these resources in the Fowler Kennedy protocol which is research dense. We will also treat within the parameters of the Surgeons wishes.
We are happy to work with patients to get them back to life and back into the game!