The anterior cruciate ligament—also known as the ACL—is an important part of the knee. Its purpose is to keep your shin bone from slipping forward under your thigh bone. When you injure your ACL, your knee will feel unstable and you will probably not be able to participate in your usual athletic pursuits. If you have suffered an injury to your knee, you may benefit from physical therapy from your Cheyenne, WY physical therapist. Together, you can work to improve the strength and range of motion of your knee.
How Can You Tell if Your ACL Is Torn?
It’s best to get professional help from either a doctor or physical therapist to determine whether or not your ACL is damaged—or if the injury is in another part of your knee. Your doctor or physical therapist will perform some tests, comparing your injured knee with your noninjured knee. If your shin moves forward more on your injured knee than on the other one, it might mean your ACL is torn.
An MRI is usually the best way to find out for sure what is going on in the internal structures of your knee.
If your ACL is torn, your doctor might refer you to physical therapy so you can work on knee mobility. During your first appointment, your physical therapist will evaluate your condition and help devise a treatment plan.
If this is your first time in physical therapy, here’s what you can expect at your initial visit
The Physical Therapy Treatment Plan
Most components of a physical therapy treatment plan will include the following items:
Pain control and swelling management. Rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) of your knee will help with swelling. You can also use ice packs to help decrease knee pain.
Gait training. If you are on crutches during your ACL rehab, your physical therapist can make sure you know how to use them properly. Your physical therapist can also help you get off the crutches back to walking normally.
Strengthening exercises. It’s important to strengthen other muscles to help protect the ACL, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, and hip muscles.
Balance exercises. When people suffer a knee injury, they often notice that they have a harder time balancing on the injured leg. Balance exercises with a wobble board can help.
Plyometrics. Most people who suffer an ACL injury because of sports cannot wait to return to the activities they enjoy. Plyometrics can assist in learning how to jump and land properly, which improves confidence when returning to athletics.
With physical therapy as part of your ACL rehab program, you can learn how to prevent problems with your knees in the future. You can also check out this article on preventing ACL injuries
If you have a knee injury, contact North Platte Physical Therapy
for treatment. Our expert staff is respected throughout the Wyoming and Nebraska areas for providing superior and customized physical therapy services. We can handle any of your physical therapy needs—including your ACL injury. Let us treat your ACL tear to restore the functioning of your leg and to maximize the performance of your body so you can get back outside, enjoying your favorite sports.