ACL Tear

Anterior Cruciate Ligament

The ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) stabilizes the knee by controlling how far forward the femur (thigh bone) translates over the tibia (shin bone). Patients who experience an ACL injury such as a torn ligament may hear a “pop” at the time of injury, experience knee instability or buckling with extreme pain, as well as an inability to walk, run, or jump immediately following the injury. 

In the United States, approximately 200,000 ACL injuries are identified each year, in which 50% of those result in operative ACL reconstruction. ACL injuries predominantly occur in the female population after sustaining non contact (landing) or direct contact (player-to player) forces.


How Physical Therapy can help

Physical Therapists are trained in special testing to rule-in or rule-out an ACL tear without expensive imaging. Physical Therapists are doctors of movement, specializing in conservative and post-operative recovery and prevention of re-injury. If surgical repair is required, pre-operative physical therapy as well as prevention of re-injury is extremely important, providing the advantage of going into surgery stronger which helps you come out of surgery stronger and quickens recovery.

The physical therapists at Vita will work with you to design a specific treatment program to accelerate your recovery from an ACL tear and/or ACL surgical repair. Typically, the program will include the following:

  • Manual interventions to reduce pain, swelling, and muscle cramping
  • Exercises for range of motion and strengthening
  • Motor control activities and other stability demands for the hip/knee/ankle complex
  • Cross training guidance and progression for return-to-sport